Viking this week signed a memorandum of understanding with China Merchants Shekou, which represents China Merchants Group. The memorandum describes a joint venture between both companies which aims to build a cruise line with worldwide offerings for the Chinese cruise market.
The wide-ranging partnership will include product development and sales and marketing. China Merchants Group’s shipbuilding subsidiaries will design and build new ocean cruise ships for the Chinese market as part of the joint venture.
“China is a dynamic outbound tourism market, and we are pleased to be partnering with China Merchants Group in this joint venture to drive the development of the cruise industry. We see Viking’s way of cruising less as a trip and more as a lifestyle,” said Torstein Hagen, Chairman of Viking.
“For more than 20 years, we have led the industry in developing a fleet of ships and a range of cruise itineraries that we believe provide guests with the most comfortable and enriching way to explore the world. 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.”
Gangfeng Fu, President of China Merchants Group, said: “China Merchants Group treasures this cooperation with Viking. This is a full-scale, multi-dimensional cooperation that covers all three main business sectors of China Merchants group.”
“Viking has gained tremendous experience in cruise operations and branding strategies during its 20 years of rapid growth. We sincerely hope that the alliance of the two powerful brands will create synergies and innovative business models that will lead the cooperation into a market-leading cruise brand,” Fu added.
Viking operates a current fleet of 78 vessels and offers scenic cruising on rivers and oceans worldwide. China has been a part of Viking’s destination portfolio since 2003, and since setting up local operations there in 2016, the company has seen a strong increase in profits for its European river cruise tailored to Chinese-speaking guests.
Lead image: Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen with President of China Merchants Group, Gangfeng Fu, after signing a MOU to form a joint venture to build a cruise line for the Chinese cruise market.