The intensive development of small shipbuilding, especially in St. Petersburg and Kazan, in the last five years has led to the effective import substitution in the Russian market of small vessels. According to experts, the share of domestic products has reached 60%, and in the segment of up to 7 meters has already exceeded 80%.
This year, the industry has moved to the offensive — St. Petersburg production company Aston Marin successfully entered the European market by signing contracts with German, Finnish, Swedish and Belgian shipowners more than 40 million euros. The founder and co-owner of the enterprise Dmitry Ryabets said in an interview to "Expert Online», why domestic market yachts and pleasure boats, which always dominated the western manufacture products for a few years, came under the control of Russian shipbuilders.
— Dmitry, first of all I would like to know why in the last few years, small shipbuilding failed to show significant growth so?
— As a result of the crisis of 2008-09, reduce the market as a whole is almost three times, imported boat "sunk" more because they are much more expensive than Russian. Consumer demand in our market has shifted toward the lower price segment. Shoppers was not enough money on expensive imported models, and our company, who had been working as service or trade got a chance. Companies with a minimum capital, a team of experts and experience, were able to start their own production and to market your brand.
— The crisis shifted the effective demand of almost all goods that are not related to essential goods. But such speakers as yours, did not show any one industry. What is the secret?
— First, the Russian government order was restored, which is a decent market share. And our main competitors in Europe in connection with the general trend towards sequestering state budgets this factor is weak. There's not up to pleasure boats and yachts. And the private segment of demand for the products of small shipbuilding, especially in southern Europe, is reduced. In Russia traditionally catalytic role played by government investment. And while energy are expensive, Russian producers will receive indirect support in the form of an additional volume of consumer demand from the government and, therefore, the resources for development.
Second, in recent years in the Russian society has seen a strengthening of social stratification on the basis of the material — a relatively increased number of very wealthy people who buy only imported vehicles, but on the other hand, grew much more middle class, which has become expensive to purchase a small domestic vessel production, but imported models yet still not too tough. In addition, a favorable factor of competitiveness of domestic manufacturers is the protectionist policies of the state, which has established prohibitive import duties on imported products of small shipbuilding.
— In general, if you look at the dynamics of this market over the last decade, we can observe rapid pace of growth relative to other industries. With the exception of the crisis period, the market is small vessels showed an annual growth on the order. What is the cause of this phenomenon?
— Following up with the pace of economic growth in our country, a number of international players come to Russia. American, French, English, German, South Korean shipbuilding corporations got their dealer networks, and began to lead active sales not only in Moscow and St. Petersburg, but in most parts of the country. They conducted an aggressive advertising campaign to publicize and even romanticization rest on a speed boat or a yacht promenade. They eventually got their way — the demand for personal, small craft grew by tens of percent a year. Possession of personal watercraft has become fashionable to 2008, not only prestigious. In all major cities were sailing regattas, races on motor boats, yacht clubs open. The presence of a small boat was a sign of quality holiday destination for the middle class, and large yachts and boats — for the wealthy. Equally important is the overall effect of economic growth, which is traditionally at all times and among all peoples of the world led to an increase in demand for a particular set of goods and services. There include, for example, horses and equestrian sport as such. The overall growth of the popularity of mandatory welfare and get their personal boats.
— So, you took advantage of the favorable situation and launched its own production?
— First, we, like most of our competitors, worked as a service company were authorized dealers of major western manufacturers. Boats are supplied to us from Europe and the United States, we completed with them here at the request of customers and sold, using the dealer discount. You are right that we caught this time the wind hit the jet.
— Initial investment for the opening production have been borrowed?
— No, do not take any credit, did not climb into debt. First had to learn about technology and make the ships are literally on his knees. We bought an old welding machine, bending machines, lathes, presses, etc. In general, large investments for a minimum set of required. Such production can arrange each in his garage, which, by the way, and make many novice. But the opportunities were limited — the maximum that we could on the dimension of boats, it is 5 meters. Then, with the accumulation of financial resources, gradually purchased modern equipment, rented a large room, opened their testing laboratories, recruited a staff of experienced professionals. We have some unique and proprietary technology — the know-how that we are now guarded as the apple of an eye. And its brand, recognizable both in Russia and in some foreign countries — "Corvette". There is also a full exclusive when the form and parameters of the vessel are adjusted for a particular customer. Such a ship, for example, we have recently done for Nikita Mikhalkov.
— How did you decide on such a risky idea, as access to the European market? After all you out there, to put it mildly, not at all been waiting for …
— You were not expecting, and we were secured … In fact, there are no obstacles to Russian goods, even in such a high-tech, the European market is not. There's just a tough, ruthless competition. If you make a competitive quality product and sell it for less in comparison with competitors money, success is assured. And, of course, you have to show perseverance.
— And your products are much cheaper than Western counterparts?
— Compared with European nearly doubled, with the U.S. and South Korean — and a half, but there is also a value added service. Now the Chinese are actively joined the race, which are priced comparable to us, but still lag behind in quality. Furthermore, they become specialized in yachting segment, i.e. immediately went into large dimension vessels which Russian occupy a relatively small share of the market. Objectively, the "price-quality" that we are better and so is the growth of sales in this area.
— We started with our nearest Finland?
— Of course, this is logical. The first foreign customer was a yacht club Lappeenranta. Then we went to the river taxi in Helsinki. Recently, even gostendere involved. True, did not win, but our "Corvette" were the top three of the 21 proposals. Still, in Western societies to industrial products from Russia there is a bias — both in business and in the ranks of officials. But the hurt still we did, I think, a good — supplie
s are in Sweden, Belgium, Norway, Germany.
— Further expansion of the geographic scope of the market do not plan on selling?
— Now the main task — to gain a foothold on the heights where we have already been able to climb. The competitive environment is so tight that you can take off from there at any time, do not blink of an eye. And in Russia there are more and new producers, the investment attractiveness of the industry is growing along with the volume of demand. Recently we won the competition for the production of vehicles for the river taxi along the Neva River, which was attended by 24 local companies. Just five years ago, and it was impossible to imagine. However, many of them are full-fledged producers, localization of production is small — like the saying, "screwdriver assembly". But there is already a full-cycle plants, the same as we are. Foreign sales experience very interesting for us. However, in order to expand production and move to the next stage of advancement, it is necessary to solve the main problem faced by any high-tech industrial business in Russia — staff shortages. Explanatory engineer should look for the day the fire, and welders at its weight in gold. We have to have the home and teach people to work virtually from scratch.