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China on Wednesday began construction on its first large luxury cruise liner, which is included in a package of projects aimed at boosting the tourism and shipping industries of a coastal city whose ports are primarily used to handle manufactured goods for export.

The Southeast China International Shipping Center package includes 10 projects led by the construction of a 100,000-ton luxury cruise liner, a cruise terminal and a shipping business center in the city of Xiamen.

According to officials, the cruise liner will be operated by a subsidiary of Beijing-based Shan Hai Shu Group, a conglomerate that has a cruise tourism development partnership with US-based Royal Caribbean International.

First, the newbuilding price of $234.5 million, thought at the time to be low, has risen to about $490 million, and, second, delivery of the ship, reportedly to be named China Xiamen (alternative name: Mazu), has now been put back from 2014 to October 2018.

According to reports, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd will design the ship and serve as consultants during her construction, while the China State Shipbuilding Corporation will look after the shipbuilding and design research and Xiamen Shipbuilding Industry Co Ltd will build the ship locally in Xiamen.

The Shanghai-based Shan Hai Shu Group, a conglomerate with a cruise tourism development partnership with Royal Caribbean International, will operate the China Xiamen through a subsidiary, Xiamen International Cruise Co Ltd.