Over 100 years and five generations of uninterrupted ship building, Cheoy Lee’s unwavering commitment to dependable products and service endures. Originating from Shanghai, Cheoy Lee is the embodiment of the Lo family’s tradition to advance their craft, continually creating new chapters in the chronicle of this iconic institution.


The roots of the Lo family’s shipbuilding journey reach back to the 1870’s, although it was in 1936 that the family business moved to the then British colony of Hong Kong, marking the start of the Cheoy Lee Shipyards that we know today. Initially specializing in mechanizing sail powered cargo vessels during World War II, by the mid-1950’s Cheoy Lee had diversified into the production of teak sailing and motoryachts, mostly built for export to America. Come the 1960’s, this now burgeoning pleasure craft division of Cheoy Lee accounted for 90% of all production from the yard.


Expansion of the shipyard was required, and it was at this time that the Penny’s Bay site in Hong Kong was established. As a pioneer in the development of fiberglass as a boat building material, Cheoy Lee recognized the savings in weight, greater strength and longevity that this new material offered. Constantly investing in research and improving production techniques, Cheoy Lee honed their fiberglass capabilities to become a forerunner in the marine use of GRP (and foam sandwich) construction. In 1977, Cheoy Lee built the world's largest molded fiberglass yacht of its time, the 130 foot motorsailer Shango II, and by 1979 the first all foam cored production motor yacht came online; the Cheoy Lee 48’ Sport Yacht. With outstanding hull design from the visionary naval architect Tom Fexas, coupled with the vacuum bagged foam cored laminates, this model was revolutionary, even breaking into the patrol boat sector, technologically superior and markedly outperforming rival yacht and patrol craft at the time.


In parallel with the construction of composite yachts, Cheoy Lee commercial vessels continued to be built predominantly in steel and aluminium, and the 1990’s saw a strong resurgence of Cheoy Lee commercial vessel output. At the end of that decade, Cheoy Lee relinquished the Penny’s Bay site that had been home for some 35 years, to take advantage of the skilled and competitive labour that existed just across the border in China. By the end of the 1990’s, the entire shipbuilding operation had been moved to Zhuhai in southern China, just 45 miles to the west of Hong Kong. The Penny’s Bay site meanwhile was transformed into what is now Hong Kong Disneyland.


Cheoy Lee maintains the head office and small repair yard in Kowloon, Hong Kong, with all construction now carried out at the Zhuhai facility. Cheoy Lee will continue to keep advances in technology in sharp focus, and above all, remain dedicated to production of the highest quality products, with service to match.

Story of CHEOY LEE


The latest of three shipyard expansions was completed at Hin Lee, and the shipyard has now grown to 12 hectares. The latest major expansion required rerouting a public road to the Doumen port. 


The launch of Cheoy Lee’s first collaboration with Robert Allan Ltd, a 60 tonne bollard pull Z-Tech tug. Over the ensuing 15-year period, we launched a further 140 units of Robert Allan designed tugs and the relationship continues to grow.


The first vessels were completed at Hin Lee. The first yacht was the 125 foot Motoryacht Janet and the first commercial vessel was a 30 meter Hydrographic Survey Vessel Mata Ikan, for the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore. 

Self Photos / Files - 4750 125 global


Cheoy Lee’s new building facility Hin Lee (Zhuhai) Shipyard officially opened on the Pearl River delta. This is a modern 12hectare facility, fully equipped to build commercial and pleasure vessels in steel, GRP and aluminium, with onsite staff housing for 1000 employees.


Cheoy Lee concluded negotiations to sell the Penny’s Bay site for the construction of Hong Kong Disney, and seized the opportunity to move manufacturing a short distance across the border into mainland China.


Construction of the first production all foam cored vacuum bagged motoryacht. This 48 Sportfisherman comprehensively out performed lower tech rivals, which saw the model make the crossover to patrol and law enforcement applications. This was also the cornerstone of a long and successful relationship with the legendary naval architect Tom Fexas.


The largest GRP yacht of its time, the 40m (130 feet) motor sailer Shango II was built at the Penny’s Bay facility from a custom one-off mould. Shango II is now a motoryacht, with masts removed, and named Nataly.


Cheoy Lee’s Penny’s Bay site was established on Lantau Island. This was a unique 18 hectare facility with 1.5km of waterfront. The site never had road access during the 35-year tenure. All labour, materials and equipment were transported daily by sea.


Cheoy Lee’s most prolific year. 252 vessels were entered into our order book, driven mainly by rocketing yacht sales into the US market. The majority of these orders were in the 8-15 meter range, less than half the size of our typical output today.


The first production yacht was completed, a Lion 35 sloop. Over 70 Lions were built in wood, with a further 27 in fibreglass in the later years.


The family shipyard moved to Hong Kong. World War II broke out shortly after, at which time the shipyard specialised in re-powering merchant sailing vessels to out-run the Japanese blockade.

Late 1800’s

Cheoy Lee Yiu Kee Shipyards was established on the Pudong Peninsula in Shanghai by the great grandfather of the current directors of Cheoy Lee, along with his two brothers.