Navigating the Storm: How Hong Kong’s Boating Market Survived the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis     


HK boating market 1997 effects    

cantonese version


Thinking back to the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis and its impact on Hong Kong’s luxury boating market brings up some tough memories. When I was just starting out in the yacht business in 1998, things were pretty rough. I saw firsthand how the financial market took a hit.

Before the stock market crisis, everything seemed great. Stock prices kept going up, and property values were through the roof. People thought the good times would last forever. But when the bubble burst, it was like a punch in the gut.

Lots of folks who had borrowed big money found themselves in trouble. Some even took their own lives because they couldn’t see a way out. It wasn’t just the super-rich; regular folks got caught up in the frenzy of speculating on properties too. They saw their friends getting rich and wanted in on the action, even if it meant taking big risks.

When the stock market crashed in 1997, things started to unravel. People lost their jobs, businesses went under, and everyone felt the pinch. You could see the change even in everyday interactions. Shopkeepers, taxi drivers, and restaurant owners, who used to act all high and mighty, suddenly became friendlier. They needed customers to stay in business, so they couldn’t afford to be rude anymore.

The boating industry took a hit too. Sales of new boats dried up, and the local market got smaller. But in every crisis, there’s a silver lining.

The internet still considered as a new thing in 1998, and even though it was slow and clunky back then, it changed everything. Companies that knew how to use it could reach customers all over the world. I was lucky—I was young and taught myself how to build websites and online marketing. That put me ahead of the game.

There were also lots of boats sitting around with nobody to buy them. Banks had taken them from people who couldn’t pay their debts, and they didn’t know what to do with them. That’s where smart investors (like my bosses then) saw a chance to make a deal. They bought up these boats for next to nothing and sold them for a good profit.

We started working with brokers in other countries, like the US and Australia, to sell our boats overseas. With the internet, we could also directly reach buyers all around the world that we never could before. Business was booming, and we were selling boats left and right.

Company like I was working for had a good run for around 4 years until the 9/11 attacks happened in 2001. That slowed down the whole world economy, including the boat business. Still, we kept going, even when things got tough, some smaller new markets opened up like Russia and South Korea and the HK market was recovering slowly too.

The years after that brought more challenges in the boating market, like the SARS virus, but we’d learned how to roll with the punches. The 1997 crisis taught us to be smart and adaptable, and that’s how we survived—and even thrived—in the end.


I hope you found this article about HK’s Boating market interesting and informative. 

Thanks for your attention 
Please click here if you want to see details of used boats for sale in HK

Baggy Sartape. 


For more boating articles, Click here. 

video on how we import new boats into Hong Kong from Europe

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