Editor’s Note: The following is a blog from the Wall Street Journal exploring China’s growing fascination with RVs as evidenced by the recently completed Beijing International RV and Camping Exhibition. To read the entire article click here.
What would you do with a spare 10 million yuan burning a hole in your pocket? If you already have a house and a car – how about a “house car”- or fang che – otherwise known as an RV?
That was pretty much what some vendors had in mind at the Beijing International Recreational Vehicle and Camping Exhibition recently.
In an open field on the outskirts of the capital, dealers in motorhomes, campers and an array of off-road vehicles jostled for the attention of the curious and the well-heeled. For those not quite ready to buy – or perhaps in need of something to shake loose those extra bank notes – there were helicopter joy rides to the Great Wall for 1,800 yuan.
Maybe not every one of China’s 1.3 billion people is ready for a luxury motorhome just yet but it’s obvious that in car-crazy China automotive bling is starting to hit the road. With the expanding ranks of the rich and leisurely crowd, there is no shortage of people to mimic carefree Americans who can cruise without leaving home. All the more reason for putting a few shiny new toys on display in Beijing.
Curious onlookers filed through a Dynamax Grand Sport GT, visibly impressed, perhaps partly by the 10 million yuan (US$1.6 million) price tag after import duties are tacked on. Stretching more than 11 meters in length, it boasts a queen size bed, shower, refrigerator, sink, toilet and sofa – and it seats nine.
“There are lots of well-to-do people,” said Greddy Chan of Zhejiang-based Feishen Group, which distributes the imported luxury RVs along with its own line of golf carts and off-road vehicles. “This is just the first batch. We’ve got more on the way.”
Motorhomes are still a bit of a novelty in China, but from the looks of things, with the help of a much improved highway system, the road ahead looks clearly marked.
There could be a few speed bumps, though.
For one, the proud owner of these heavyweight homes will need a specialistdriving license (though hiring a driver is not much of a challenge for those with this kind of budget).
The Grand Sport might also have some problems with low overpasses along the way, while driving restrictions in some cities could also limit the fun. And then, there just aren’t that many camp grounds to spend the night.