On April 8, Viking and China Merchants Shekou, representing China Merchants Group, announced they have signed a memorandum of understanding to form a joint venture focused on building a cruise line with worldwide cruise offerings for the Chinese cruise market.
This will be a wide-ranging partnership covering from product development to sales and marketing. Further, China Merchants Group’s shipbuilding subsidiaries will partner with the joint venture to design and build new ocean cruise ships dedicated to the Chinese market.
“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 travelers more quickly, satisfying the Chinese market’s unmet demand for a greater choice of sophisticated travel.”
“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,” said Gangfeng Fu, president 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.
Viking operates a current fleet of 78 vessels, offering scenic cruising on rivers and oceans around the world. China has been a part of Viking’s destination portfolio since 2003, and 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.