Hainan Island lures China’s wealthy with the ultimate in luxury

While the world's leaders are this week calling for "sustainable development" at the annual Boao Forum for Asia being held on China's Hainan Island, just a little drive down the road people are at the same time being urged to spend, spend, spend.

By a strange quirk of fate, the Boao Forum -- which attracts more than 2,000 government, business and academic leaders from around the globe and focuses on how to safeguard against financial disaster -- falls in the same week as Hainan Rendez-vou​s 2012 (http://hainanrendezvous.com), a three-year-old event which bills itself as "the pioneering lifestyle event for China's top business leaders and entrepreneurs."

Hainan Rendez-vou​s 2012 -- which runs April 5-8 at various venues across tropical Hainan Island -- boasts a yacht show, a business jet exhibition and a lifestyle showcase featuring everything from cars to tech to art and is designed to further enhance the southern Chinese island as the playground of the country's rich and famous.

Among the temptations in store for visitors -- rated at the event in an order of importance that goes right up to VVIP -- is the new custom-tailored Horizon CC110 motor yacht christened Lady Gaga by its owner and now taking pride of place at Hainan's Visun Royal Yacht Club.

There's also the 38.5 meter motor yacht Onyx, which comes with "four folding platforms that create exclusive lateral terraces on the main deck: two in the living area and two in the owner's cabin" -- and can be yours for a cool €13.5 million.

Organizers expect to top the 15,000 visitors who attended last year's event and say there will be in total more than 130 of the world's much luxurious yachts on display while 21 of the world's most advanced private aircraft will be able to be seen at Hainan's Sanya Phoenix International Airport.

There are also gala parties and launch events scheduled throughout the event, which is this year being sponsored by the likes of Chopard, Pernod Ricard, Mandarin Oriental, Sanya, UBS, and BMW.

"Our major sponsors this year embody the type of quality, integrity and accomplishment that we strive to achieve for our show," Delphine Lignieres, founder and CEO of organizer China Rendez-Vous Ltd, said on unveiling this year's event.

Massive resort development on Hainan -- which includes work currently taking place across 30 five-star resorts and 70 luxury hotels at the island's Haitang Bay -- is part of the Chinese government's long-term plan to establish the island as "China's Riviera."

The island's main city of Sanya already has 223 hotels, including 13-five-star and 20 four-star, according to the local government. Hainan Island lies about an hour's flight from Hong Kong and has been building up its tourism industry since the first international hotel chains started arriving to make use of its pristine beaches in 1996.

MS