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RVIA: 4th China Trade Mission Yields Progress

July 20, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

RVIA President Richard Coon signs CATARC agreement

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) is reporting substantial progress in the trade organization’s efforts to facilitate the involvement of U.S. RV companies in the growth and development of the Chinese RV industry following a fourth trade mission to China.

According to a press release, RVIA President Richard Coon, RVIA Vice President and General Counsel Craig Kirby and RVIA Vice President of Standards and Education Bruce Hopkins visited Shanghai and Beijing June 19 to July 1 for a series of meetings with Chinese governmental agencies and other companies and organizations to discuss further establishing and growing the RV market within China.

One of the key achievements of the trip was the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between RVIA and the China Automotive Technology and Resource Center (CATARC) to work together on RV standards issues. As a technical administrative body in the auto industry and a technical support organization to the Chinese government, CATARC assists the government in such activities as auto and RV standards development and product certification testing.

The group met with RVIA in Beijing on June 24 to discuss the current voluntary minimal RV standard developed by CATARC and to receive a briefing from Hopkins on the NFPA 1192 standard.

“This Memorandum of Understanding with CATARC is a significant step toward developing a more formal RV standard for China that is harmonized with our North American standards, which would be a boost to U.S. RV manufacturers and suppliers interested in doing business in the Chinese RV market,” said Coon.

In other key meetings, RVIA met with:

• The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers to discuss RVIA’s role on a new RV committee formed by the organization.

• The China Ministry of Transport to discuss road use regulations pertaining to RVs.

• The Shanghai Tourism Administration to discuss their RV and campground projects and to visit a potential campground site.

China Travel Services, the country’s leading travel services provider which operates an expansive campground near Beijing (which RVIA toured), to explore how the company can work with RVIA and its member companies.

• China National Tourism Administration representatives who are planning to establish an RV association and would like for RVIA to participate.

“These were very productive meetings that allowed us to begin addressing some of the regulatory and market barriers limiting the involvement of U.S. companies in the Chinese RV market,” said Coon. “We were also able to further develop relationships with key contacts to lay the groundwork for future efforts. And, we added to our knowledge of the Chinese RV market and business culture. It was a very successful trip.”

In addition, RVIA also met with foreign commercial services officers from the U.S. Embassy to enlist their support of RVIA’s efforts and scouted potential office locations while in Beijing.

 

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VIDEO #3: China RV Industry Ready to Explode

June 14, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

Editor’s Note: Today’s video comes from Reuters, examining the burgeoning RV industry in China. To view the video scroll down the right side of the RVBUSINESS.com home page and click on the play button. Below is an excerpt from an accompanying story and a link to the complete version on the Reuters site.

Dong Xuemin can’t wait for weekends when he heads out with family or friends to the mountains north of Beijing or to a lake for a picnic.

As reported by Reuters, Dong is a “Red Ant” – a member of a club of urban Chinese who’ll find any excuse to hit the road, not in ordinary cars, but in recreational vehicles, those quintessential Western chariots of leisure transportation used by “Snowbirds” in North America typified by white-haired retirees heading south for the winter.

“RVs have a long and glorious history in the West,” says Dong, 41, who runs a logistics and storage business in Beijing where he stores his RV, boat, all-terrain vehicle and motorized surfboard. “Chinese are the same; we love the outdoors. So we’re learning the American and Western RV culture.”

China’s RV market is still minuscule compared to North America. Chinese buyers bought an estimated 1,000 RVs last year compared to more than 250,000 sold in the United States. A lack of government regulations, campgrounds, plumbing and decent roads in many parts of the country are among the challenges stalwart road-warriors face.

Experts, however, say the RV business in China is about to take off, benefiting domestic manufacturers and foreign makers alike. The RV China Association expects sales to increase 40% between 2012 and 2015 to close to 4,000.

To read the entire article by Reuters click here.

 

 

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Beijing to Host Major RV Events Aug. 9-12

May 31, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

An overview of a major RV show held in China.

The fifth Beijing International RV & Camping Exhibition and the third China RVing & Camping Rally will be held Aug. 9-12 at the Beijing RV Exposition Center.

The show and rally began in 2010. Since then, one show in March and one show and one rally in August have become the largest events on RVing and camping in China, according to a news release from the show sponsors. Makers of caravans, motorhomes made in China and imports, accessories and camping equipments gather here to show and do business.

The show and rally also feature forums on RVing where industry representatives, experts and RV owners and outdoor enthusiasts attend to share information on this growing part of Chinese life.

To have a look at the March 2012 show, click here or visit www.rvchina.cn.

For more information on the show and rally, call 86-10-84644302 or e-mail to 21rv@163.com.

 

 

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Plan Calls for Campgrounds in Shanghai Area

May 24, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Some 400 to 500 recreational vehicle campgrounds will be built in Shanghai, China, and the other 20-plus cities in the Yangtze River Delta Region by the end of 2020, according to a tourism development plan.

The Shanghai Daily reported that tourism authorities aim to turn potential consumption in the RV market into real consumer behavior by mapping out the plan, said Wang Jianming, an official with the Shanghai Tourism Administration who helped work out the scheme. The plan has passed experts’ review and is expected to be officially launched in the second half of this year.

About 20 of the campgrounds will be in Shanghai, according to Wang. Most will be built in suburban areas like Songjiang, Qingpu and Jinshan districts as well as near the future Shanghai Disneyland in the Pudong New Area.

With the emergence of the market, a number of cities in China, such as Beijing and Suzhou, have already constructed campgrounds. But there is no such campground in Shanghai.

“Shortage of campgrounds and specific routes have hindered its development in Shanghai, and it still takes some time for people to receive the relatively new type of tourism concept,” Wang said.

Shanghai’s scarce land resources and long approval procedure are part of the reason for the shortage, he said.

Most of those who own recreational vehicles in Shanghai are business people, athletes and entertainment stars. Wang estimates the figure to be in the hundreds.

Five tourism routes specially targeting RV users will be explored, according to the scheme. They will include tours around Hangzhou Bay and Taihu Lake.

According to the Shanghai Daily, authorities estimate that an RV tour market valued at more than 10 billion yuan (U.S. $1.6 billion) will gradually form in China over the next decade, including 3 million to 5.5 million consumers in the Yangtze River Delta Region.

Jing Zonghua takes charge of the Shanghai branch of the CRVC (Centech RVing Club), a Beijing-based recreational vehicle seller and rental service. He said the company’s business is not good in Shanghai.

“The market lacks recognition and attention in the city,” Jing said.

Shanghainese are prudent about purchasing such large vehicles, and the shortage of parking spaces is a problem, he said. It has six vehicles for rent but sometimes none of them are on the road.

Most campgrounds with power and water hookups for RVs also include facilities such as horse-riding spots and amusement parks. Jing said if developers do business only in recreational vehicle parking, they will fail. He said there is a wide range of facilities and service levels of RV campgrounds, as there is no standard in China.

 

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Chinese Consumers on Board With RV Market

May 21, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

China became the hottest real estate market in the world over the past few years and it is no secret that China is the world’s largest auto market. But what if both were combined?

China Car Times reported that RV and motorhomes are picking up in the Middle Kingdom, Chinese consumers are combining the best of their addictions at a rapid pace, beginning to see the appeal of a car that is also their home – a perfect getaway vehicle to escape the hustle and bustle of China’s major urban centers.

China’s RV industry is at the starting point, feet have just left the brakes but it is in a full-fledged sprint towards an imagined finish line of RV’s becoming a common site. In 2001 just one single RV was sold in China, but by 2010 900 units were sold with about 4,500 units on the road since then. Sales for 2012 are expected to be around 1500 units with total units expected to breach 6,000.

America on the other hand has around 8.9 million RV’s on the road and 16,500 official places to park. Korea has around 10,000 RVs and 100 official camp sites, but Japan is the Asian RV king with around 78,000 RVs and 1,350 places to camp. China has roughly 100 places with more being added at a rapid place.

According to China Car Times, Great Wall was one of the first companies to understand the potential behind the domestic RV market as it bolted a basic camper to the back of its then flagship Wingle vehicle in 2007. Since then the company has improved its product range and seen around 30 domestic competitors join the market with self-developed products or existing cargo vehicles that have been adopted for RV life.

International manufacturers have been eager to enter the Chinese market. Currently 10 such brands are in the Chinese market and more are expected to join in the next few months.

Chinese made RVs may be a hard sell in the Middle Kingdom. High prices coupled with slightly interesting designs are likely to put off Chinese consumers in the short term. Also those that want to have a small trailer or caravan may be off put by the government’s requirement that anybody towing any vehicle requires an ‘A1 or A2’ truck driving license, where as the vast majority of car owners opt for C1 or C2 licenses that allow them to drive regular seven-seat or lower-passenger cars.

 

 

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Chinese Love RV Lifestyle, Despite Challenges

April 26, 2012 by · 1 Comment 

Editor’s Note: The following is a story from Financial Times examining the growing, but still infant Chinese RV industry, and the challenges for RVers looking to adopt the lifestyle.

Wang Xudong loves camping so much that he named his month-old twins the Chinese equivalent of “Cam” and “Ping.” And the kind of camping he loves is caravanning.

Sitting in a deck chair outside his Chinese-made motorhome parked in Beijing’s largest “RV park” – where a luxury imported American recreational vehicle can be rented – Wang talked about China’s nascent RV culture and the joys of life on the open road.

He tells a tale of urban Chinese who are worn out by work yet still happy to battle Beijing’s gargantuan traffic jams on Friday night just for the chance to wake up the next day and breathe the fresh air of an RV park.

“Even in a traffic jam, I am happy,” says Wang, who last Friday fought through an evening of fearsome thunderstorms to arrive at Beijing’s Nanshan RV park at 10 p.m. – where he immediately set about barbecuing his supper in the pouring rain.

It is all worth it, he says, for the chance to get away from it all and engage in the kind of games that grown boys everywhere love: racing around in all-terrain vehicles, grilling meat and jumping waves on the jet ski. Blink and this could be Los Angeles.

But the pot of gruel boiling in the rice cooker on Wang’s picnic table says it is not: this is China and it is not yet a kingdom of RV enthusiasts. On paper, China has about 100 caravan parks – but most of them are pretty useless, since they are neither located on tourist routes nor within reach of anything that might be called scenery.

So RV pioneers need a caravan with Chinese characteristics: a generator, a tank that can hold water for three or four days and a shovel to bury several days worth of sewage, in the absence of a US-style sewage hookup.

Then there’s Grandma: the Chinese middle class love to travel with the grandparents in tow and China’s 30 or 40 RV manufacturers are happy to make caravans to order, with facilities for Grandpa’s wheelchair.

Carting the elders around in an RV is “a form of filial piety”, says Wang, enlisting no less an ally than Confucius to support his caravanning habit.

With only 5,000 RV owners, China has a long way to go before it catches up with the U.S., the spiritual home of the RV, where there are nearly 9 million caravanners. But Wang forecasts that RVs will catch on like BMWs in China in the years to come, as a symbol of an all new Chinese way of life that embraces nature, mobility, and the right to stop and go at will – a Route 66 kind of lifestyle that could not be more different from riding a Chinese bicycle.

Liu Yujiao heads the RV sales department at one of China’s leading RV makers, Great Wall Motors. He says lots of people in Europe and America have time and money for RV travel, while the super-rich in China have money but no time.

So China’s RVs are driven by small entrepreneurs, white-collar workers and retired government officials. They buy locally produced RVs for travel or entertaining while the überwealthy sometimes buy imported caravans to impress their business contacts. Liu expects the costs of production to drop once Chinese RV makers start to enjoy the economies of scale that only a nation of 1.3 billion potential caravanners can deliver.

But that may take a while: at the moment, RVs are still so novel that when one rocks up at a motorway toll booth, staff are often baffled how to charge for it. Even getting a number plate for an RV can be hard.


 

 

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Beijing RV Show Designed to Inspire RVing Bug

March 27, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

 

 

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Chinese RV Industry Striving to Gain Acceptance

March 23, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

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.

 

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General Coach Partnering with Chinese Builder

May 10, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Hensall, Ontario, Canada-based General Coach Canada has entered into an agreement with Foshan Lishen Industry Ltd. of Guangzhou, China to produce and ship a new concept in leisure accommodation designed specifically for the Chinese market.

Roger Faulkner, president of General Coach Canada, recently returned from a business trip to China with an initial order for six units, and a clear understanding of market potential and requirements in the world’s fastest growing economy.

“I see enormous potential for our products in the Chinese market,” said Faulkner in a press release. “While it has a large population and increasing wealth, China is just beginning to get involved in leisure and camping activities. This agreement will create the opportunity for us to capitalize on the emerging market’

Faulkner expects General Coach will be making five different portable models for the Chinese market. All will be large enough to include living space, bathroom and kitchen, but small enough to ship in a standard 40-foot marine shipping container.

“We have a model that fits within the dimensions of a shipping container but we will be doing some specific modifications to accommodate assembly requirements in China,” Faulkner explains.

Two units were shipped to China earlier this year, and work is now underway on three prototype units which will be shipped before the end of June. Rowcliffe trucking, also located in Hensall, will transport the units from Hensall to the Port of Vancouver for shipment to Beijing, where they will be assembled and put on display.

General Coach Canada has a reputation for producing high quality recreational accommodation for distribution throughout Canada and the northern United States. Once a large producer of travel trailers, fifth-wheels, motorhomes and truck campers, General Coach is now focused exclusively on park models, which are a form of cottage. Faulkner believes his company’s well-established reputation for quality is what attracted the attention of Foshan Lishen Industry Ltd.

“They are looking to create and grow a new market that will place an emphasis on the high level of quality we offer,” says Faulkner. “Other Canadian manufacturers serving other markets can also take advantage of that need for quality. We shouldn’t be selling ourselves short on the world stage.”

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RV Travel Conflicts with Chinese Culture?

January 25, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Amid all the publicity surrounding MVP RV Inc.’s mammoth deal to build 30,000 motorhomes for  a growing market in China comes an alternative viewpoint from none other than Chinese travel experts.

The China People’s Daily reported today (Jan. 25) in its online edition that so far the country has less than 10,000 motorhomes, most of which are used in the entertainment business for mobile dressing rooms, said Shangguan Zhoudong, a Beijing-based independent auto analyst.

“People rarely use RVs as a way to travel long distances in China, because Chinese culture does not nurture a spirit of adventure, as most people value stability,” the auto analyst stated.

The Chinese are more accustomed to driving sedans or SUVs and staying overnight at hotels while traveling, said Cui Dongshu, deputy secretary-general of the National Passenger Car Association.

This report butts heads with a statement distributed today by the Los Angeles Times and attributed to MVP RV benefactor Winston Chung. The Times reported that Chug said the Chinese government has placed a focus on developing the RV industry as a cornerstone of the Chinese ideal of the happy home life.

“A family with an RV is a family more in harmony with each other,” he said, speaking through a translator. “During vacations, people can get into the RV and enjoy quality family time.”

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