A Proud Heritage
Resourceful, colorful, ingenious, and committed to time-honored traditions of excellence. The history of the Cheoy Lee is as varied and fascinating as the country from which we come.
Our history dates back well over a century to a humble beginning in 1870 at a building and repair yard for steam-powered craft at Po Tung Point in Shanghai. Run by the same family ever since, Cheoy Lee is proud of the generations of commitment to the founding principles of quality, technology and design superiority.
Responding to world events, in 1936 the family moved the business to the British territory of Hong Kong where we continued to prosper. Initially specializing in the production of powered cargo vessels (to outrun the Japanese blockade), by the mid-1950s Cheoy Lee had diversified into the production of teak sailing and motoryachts, mostly built for export to the U.S. Many of the teak sailboats, designed by Arthur Robb and other notable designers of the era, and built by Cheoy Lee are still being sailed today by their proud owners. A testament to the quality of construction that continues to define all Cheoy Lee products. The future success of the newly formed pleasure craft division soon became apparent. By the mid-1960’s, 90% of the Cheoy Lee's production was pleasure craft, primarily for the United States market. Meanwhile, the commercial craft division of Cheoy Lee also continued to grow.
It was also during the 1960’s that Cheoy Lee became one of the pioneers in the development, testing and use of fiberglass construction techniques and soon thereafter, wood construction was phased out. Constantly improving our product, Cheoy Lee was to next become a forerunner in the marine use of GRP/foam sandwich technology, now widely used. In fact, in 1977 Cheoy Lee built the world's largest GRP yacht of the time, the 130' motorsailer "Shango II", and by 1979 the first all foam cored production motoryacht came on line; the Cheoy Lee 48’ Sport Yacht.
The experience in composite construction benefits both commercial and yacht wings of Cheoy Lee. Cheoy Lee yachts have also been constructed in steel and aluminium, however, the shipyards wealth of experience in construction using these materials is applied primarily to the commercial division. Each year, ten’s of thousands of tones of steel and aluminium is transformed into top quality commercial craft. High demand for Cheoy Lee’s commercial vessels over the past decade has seen the division flourish, facilitated by the shipyards new state-of-the-art production facility on the Pearl River at Doumen.
During 140 years of family-ownership, Cheoy Lee has made everything from ferries to tugboats to large motoryachts. Cheoy Lee long sighted stratergies and abilities will allow the shipyard to stay in the forefront of the industry for many years to come.
Please visit our Notable Projects section for a visual review of the Cheoy Lee Heritage.