China’s rapid growth could be good for Knoxville

China’s rapid economic acceleration could be a good thing for a piece of the Knoxville economy.022509searay1.jpg.jpg

Brunswick Corp., owner of Sea Ray Boats, which has manufacturing plants in the Knoxville region, expects a 25 percent increase in China sales in 2011.

“We believe the long-term potential in the marine business is larger than anywhere else in the world,” Brunswick CEO Dustan McCoy said in an interview April 2 with Bloomberg. “There is so much wealth here it is unique. Boating culture will take hold very strongly.”

Boating is increasingly popular in China as the government cleans up the country’s lakes and the growing economy has created more personal wealth, including a bunch of new millionaires, Bloomberg reports.

Brunswick sold about 55 boats 40-feet or shorter in China last year, making the company the leader in that market segment, McCoy told Bloomberg.

Given that Brunswick closed U.S. plants, including one in Knox County, and laid off thousands of workers during the Great Recession, anything that helps the company recover and stablize its manufacuring operations, is a good thing.

Read the full Bloomberg story here.

Photo: In this 2009 photo, boats on dollies wait to receive finishing touches and be pulled along a floor track toward quality testing at Knoxville area Sea Ray plant. (Ed Marcum/ Knoxvilel News Sentinel)