Creating a new Chinese brand, Carnival Corporation executives said today they will “seed” the new brand with existing ships before building new ships in China.

Carnival today announced a partnership with China State Shipbuilding Corporation to launch a multi-ship new brand for the Chinese market with the China Investment Corporation being a significant investor.

Alan Buckelew, COO of Carnival, said on a conference call it was a 25-year deal with the parties committing to spending $4 billion during the first 10 years. Carnival will hold a 40 percent interest in the joint venture and the Chinese parties 60 percent.

Buckelew said that a business plan had not yet been finalized, while they are doing market research to define the brand and the appropriate sizes of the new ships.

“When we have a clear brand identification, we will move forward,” he said. Thus, no start-up date was given.

"We have modeled through four different ship classes,” he explained. “In the end, the ship (size) must be consistent with the market we want to reach.”

David Dingle, chairman of Carnival UK, also participated in the call, and was said to have played a key role in Carnival’s development in China.

He said that the new ships, to be built in China, will fly the British flag and fit within the U.K. tonnage tax structure.

Working with the China State Shipbuilding Corporation is also Fincantieri.