Shipyard in 1950
Shipyard in 1950

Resourceful. Colorful. Ingenious. And committed to time-honored traditions of excellence. The history of the Cheoy Lee company is as varied and fascinating as the country from which it comes.

The Cheoy Lee company has been a major shipbuilder for well over a century, beginning in 1870 with a building and a repair yard for steam-powered craft at Po Tung Point in Shanghai. Run by the same family ever since its beginning, Cheoy Lee is proud of its generations of commitment to the founding principles of the company: quality, technology and design superiority. Moreover, Cheoy Lee has been a marine industry pioneer all throughout the years.

Responding to world events, in 1936 the family moved the business, to the British territory of Hong Kong where it 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 Arthur Robb-designed teak sailboats built by Cheoy Lee then are still being sailed today by their proud owners – that’s a testament to how well they’re built!) The future success of the newly formed pleasure craft division soon became apparent: by the mid-1960s, 50% of the company’s production was pleasure craft, primarily for the United States market. Meanwhile, the success of the company’s commercial craft also continued to grow.

It was also during the 1960s 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 the product, the shipyard was to next become a forerunner in the marine field use of GRP/Foam sandwich technology, now widely used. In fact, in 1977 Cheoy Lee built the world’s largest GRP vessel of the time, the 130′ motorsailer “Shango II.” Cheoy Lee’s advances in GRP technology continued throughout the remainder of the 20th Century. Today, with a new state-of-the-art-technology production facility on the Pearl River at Doumen, the shipyard is currently able to build large, one-of-a-kind custom motoryachts, like the Frank Mulder-designed 172′ “SeaShaw,” launched in 2004. In over 130 years of family-owned shipbuilding, Cheoy Lee has made everything from ferries to tugboats to today’s selection of large motoryacht models. And Cheoy Lee plans to stay in the forefront of the shipbuilding industry for many more years – with future family generations to carry on the heritage.


Shipyard Today
Shipyard Today

With the recent earning of ISO 9001: 2000 Certification, Cheoy Lee truly takes its place an industry leader and “shipbuilder to the world.” First of all, Cheoy Lee is one of the only yards in the world to routinely build in steel, fiberglass and aluminum. And we count governments from many lands among our customers.

The company’s new main production facility – strategically located on the Pearl River at Doumen – is reached via high speed ferry from Hong Kong, just 60 miles away. Located in the center more than 20 other shipyards, the facility has access to a huge pool of skilled labor, providing almost limitless future expansion capability. The 30-acre Cheoy Lee facility also includes a 1,000-ton railway lift, 150-ton travel lift, dedicated paint sheds, and onsite dormitories to house up to 1000 employees.

When the company moved, after 50 years, from Lantau Island (current home of Disney World and Hong Kong’s newest airport), there was much more to be gained than lost. The new facility is capable of producing vessels in excess of 200 feet – faster and better than ever. Customers gain convenience when visiting, and benefit from the latest technological breakthroughs and production efficiencies.

The dedication to quality and attention to detail remain the same, however. World-class naval architects – including Jack Hargrave, Tom Fexas, Frank Mulder, Sparkman and Stephens, Don Shead, Arthur Robb, and others – have all designed our craft into masterpieces and will continue to do so. And, with over 5000 hulls built since World War II, no one can offer the depth of experience in all varieties of both commercial and pleasure craft. Tugs, ferries, supply vessels, patrol boats, motorsailers, trawlers, sportfishers, motoryachts, and mega-yachts – they’ve all been delivered with pride and confidence by Cheoy Lee over the years.

Cheoy Lee has been known as shipbuilders to the world for well over a century – and with our continuing focus on quality and technology, we will continue to be.


Cheoy Lee is pleased to announce the building facility of its sister company Hin Lee will go up by 35%.

It took close to two years of negotiations to obtain necessary government approval. Due to a policy of slowing down the economy, we were given approval for less than half of the land we were looking for.

Site formation work has started. We will use this land for fabrication shops, outfitting shops and workers’ dormitories, allowing us to better meet demands of the 21st Century.