Viking and China Merchants Shekou, a flagship subsidiary promoting cruise port development under the state-owned China Merchant Group, have signed an MoU to form a joint venture to build a cruise line for the Chinese market.
“This will be a full scale, multi-dimensional cooperation that covers all three main business sectors of China Merchants Group”, said Gangfeng Fu, president of the group.
The partnership will range from product development to sales and marketing. As part of the agreement, China Merchants Group’s shipbuilding subsidiaries will design and build new ocean cruise ships.
Commented Torstein Hagen, chairman of Viking: “China is a dynamic outbound tourism market… Our partnership with China Merchants Group will allow us to bring this Viking travel lifestyle to more Chinese travellers more quickly, satisfying the Chinese market’s unmet demand for a greater choice of sophisticated travel.”
Viking operates a current fleet of 78 vessels, offering cruising on rivers and oceans around the world. China has been a part of Viking’s destination portfolio since 2003. Since setting up local operations in China in 2016, the company has seen strong momentum in its European river cruise product tailored for Chinese-speaking guests.