TAIWAN”S YACHT MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY AND THE GLOBAL ECONOMY No industry in Taiwan is as reliable as the yacht manufacturing industry for reflecting the ebb and flow of the global economy. Dubbed the Yacht Kingdom, Taiwan had a glorious history of yacht manufacturing in the 1970s. The appreciation of the new Taiwan dollar in the 1980s brought an export oriented economy to rock bottom until the late 1990s. With a total export value of US$ 300 million in 2008, Taiwan ranks as the fourth largest yacht manufacturer, following Italy, USA, and the Netherlands. The yacht manufacturing industry needs a high level of competitiveness in terms of design and quality of craftmanship. Italy accounts for more than 45% of global yacht production, with a total of 350 yachts produced in 2008. Leading the world in fields of design and car manufacturing, such as Ferrari, Italy has been crowned laureate in yacht industry several times. As the Russian astronaut said in the movie Armageddon when the Independence was about to return to Earth, “American components, Russian components, ALL MADE IN TAIWAN!”. Taiwan’s yacht manufacturing industry has accrued plenty of experience for several decades, which equates to a valuable industry providing custom-built, high-end yachts for the most demanding customers. John Lu, expert shipbuilder who was educated at Taiwan University and is the president of the world’s 6th largest yacht manufacturer, Horizon Yachts in Kaohsiung, states that Horizon is capable of building mega yachts as large as 130 feet. The yacht manufacturing industry in Taiwan could not escape the chill of winter, even during the global economic recession. Due to the standoff which has existed for the last half century across the Taiwan Strait, the government of Taiwan has discouraged marine sports, so as to prevent potential Chinese military infiltration. In addition, Pacific waters on the eastern side of Taiwan, unlike in the Caribbean, are especially rough during winter months, which limits activities of small leisure boats. Yacht manufacturing in Taiwan is facing a state of uncertainty and unpredictability in the foreseeable future. A great number of yachts from North America and Europe called into Port Zante this winter; how many of these vessels were made in Taiwan?
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