Editor’s Note: The Beijing International RV and Camping Exhibition began Thursday (March 22) and runs through Sunday at the Beijing RV Expo Center. The following is a report by China Daily on growth trends in the Chinese RV industry, which is still in its industry. To read the entire report click here.
Wang Xudong is obsessive about the great outdoors. So much so that he named his week-old twins Lu and Ying, after luying, the Chinese word for camping. Allied to that love, Wang has an almost unshakable belief that the future of China’s recreational vehicle industry is bright. Rather like Mr Toad in Kenneth Grahame’s classic children’s book The Wind in the Willows, the wide open road is everything for Wang.
And he may have a good reason for being so optimistic, having witnessed the development of China’s RV industry almost from its inception.
Ten years ago, when Wang and his brother founded 21rv, the country’s first professional website dealing in RV-related news, few people in China had any idea what an RV was. In June, a convoy of 15 RVs will head to Europe on a three-month road trip.
The flow of domestic tourists in China reached 2.6 billion in 2011, a jump of 13.2% from the previous year, generating revenue of $305.5 billion, a rise of 23.6%, according to figures revealed by Shao Qiwei, head of the China National Tourism Administration, at a January conference in Guangzhou. By August, ownership of motor vehicles in China exceeded 100 million.
In the meantime, a rise in incomes in the major cities has made the future appear even more promising in a country where vehicle ownership has been rising at breakneck speed. Statistics from local authorities show that per capita GDP in Beijing and Shanghai topped $12,000 last year, approaching the levels seen in developed economies, when measured by the World Bank’s criteria.
The figures, and the nation’s increasing love of luxury brands, would seem to indicate that the time is ripe for the Chinese RV sector to expand – and there is plenty of room for growth.
The RV industry in China is in its infancy. Out of a population of 1.3 billion, ownership of the multipurpose vehicles totaled just 6,000 by the end of 2011. Conversely, the number is 8.9 million in the U.S., 6.5 million in Europe, and in Japan, 78,000.
“The figure may seem relatively small, but it has doubled and redoubled over the past few years,” said Wang Xudong, senior editor at 21rv.
For industry insiders, such a low ownership rate is a “glass half-full” situation – the low starting point means that the growth potential is massive. That’s been acknowledged by Western RV manufacturers, such as Hymer of Germany and EverGreen RV in the US, who are now targeting the Chinese market, either by employing local agents or by setting up factories with domestic producers.
The growing interest in such an undeveloped market from overseas rivals has increased the pressure on domestic players, but their optimism makes them stick with the industry in the hope of becoming pioneers.
But the path to success is likely to be bumpy, and the industry faces a number of potential roadblocks.
To view the entire article click here.