Millionaires' playground

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 June, 2012, 12:00am


Picture-perfect Sanya - with its deluxe resorts, crystal-clear water and white sand beaches - is where China's wealthy come to get away from it all.

For the past three years, they have gathered for Hainan Rendez-Vous, four days of the finer things in life.

The event, held this year in April, is one part networking and two parts exhibition. The mainland's largest yacht show encourages guests not only to peruse the exhibits, but also to mix, mingle and enjoy themselves.

'It's an amazing four days,' says China Rendez-Vous's general manager Diana Jaquier. 'We bring people by private business jet from all over China - not just Shanghai and Beijing, but from smaller cities as well.'

That 20,000 people attended this year's event, up from 5,600 in 2010, is not surprising; the mainland now has nearly 1 million United States-dollar millionaires.

Attendees are generally mainlanders, although there are a few from Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore.

Exhibitors, totalling 288 this year, come from around the world, with the majority from the yachting and jet industries.

An event focused heavily on networking, yachting and jets can have a very masculine appeal, but Jaquier says that although the first two years were more skewed towards men, this year's Hainan Rendez-Vous was a more even mix.

Eleven per cent of the mainland's richest are women, and Hainan Rendez-Vous's organisers have added more events to draw in the fairer sex.

In addition to superfast cars and top-shelf wines and spirits, there's jewellery, clothing, travel services, international and domestic art and luxury real estate being exhibited.

Next year, Jaquier plans to increase the female turnout.

'We've got a few things in the pipeline,' she says, adding that next year, China Rendez-Vous will host a north China event, to take place in Tianjin.

Jaquier hopes the event will be as successful as Hainan Rendez-Vous. 'This year, from day one, people were networking and finding new ways to experience things together. Lots of friends and connections were made. It's a really exciting four days.'