The biggest recreational vehicle and camping rally in China took place in Beijing’s Fangshan district over the weekend, attracting more than 100 RVs and their owners, the China Daily reported.
During the three days, more than 3,000 people attended the 2010 China RVing and Camping Rally, and about 10% of those without an RV showed strong intentions to make an order.
Niu Jie, a woman in her 20s, who came from Xi’an with her family, told a salesman at the rally she didn’t want to wait two months for an RV.
“We want to join the convoy to Europe organized by www.21rv.com next year,” she said. “My parents want an RV now because they want to try short trips within China first to gain some experience before the coming marathon journey.”
Wang Xudong, chief information officer with the Beijing-based website 21rv.com, said the success of the rally was a clear signal that there was consumer demand for RVs.
However, he said the lack of campsites is holding back the development of China’s RV market.
“Europe has more than 30,000 RV campsites and the U.S. has 16,000; we, in contrast, have only several dozen,” he said.
“Campsites are so rare in China that I always park my RV in a local farmer’s courtyard,” said Li Jibao, an RV owner in his 50s who attended the rally and who has taken his family to all parts of China except Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region in his RV since 2007.
Wang said an RV campsite requires more than just grass. “It requires water and recharging facilities and also facilities to deal with waste and to guarantee sanitation and hygiene.”
In Japan, RV campsites are usually combined with nearby entertainment facilities, such as mineral springs, fishing sites, museums and fun fairs.
China Travel Service (HK) Group Corp. has announced that it will invest heavily in building two RV areas in Miyun district, Beijing Youth Daily reported on Thursday.
Wang said RV campsites in Fangshan and Huairou districts will also be boosted within five years, which will make Beijing China’s leading RV-friendly city.
In China, there are 3,600 RVs — 500 of them in Beijing — compared with around 8.6 million RVs in the United States.
Yuan Zhijun, a salesman with Tuo Ma RV, said Metro, a domestic RV brand that has been involved in the industry for 10 years, has potential but is still in its early days.
He said the company relies heavily on other types of vehicles to keep the RV business alive.
“The business is getting better since last year. We perceive it as a promising industry and don’t want to give up easily,” Yuan said.
In Europe and the U.S., more than 80% of the RVs are cheap attached trailers, which cost about 150,000 yuan each.
However, cars produced for the Chinese market are not equipped with linking devices to connect trailers and running trailers in China requires a special driving license and number plates
As a result, Chinese RV lovers have to choose the more expensive type of RV, a motorhome.
But for the growing number of RV lovers in China, the joys of this leisure mode of travel far exceed the constraints.
Li said he loved the independence and freedom brought by the open road.
The China RVing & Camping Rally 2010 and RV Camping Show, to be held Aug. 6-8 in Beijing, is sponsored by 21RV (www.21RV.com), which provides the RVers, RV enthusiasts and camping fans a place to enjoy and share RVing and camping together.
Following is a news release provided to RVBUSINESS.com to promote the event:
“Holding this rally is to sound the industry’s horn assembly, to gather the RVers, RV lovers, campers dispersed in different regions of China, who are at this moment in little quantity, RV manufacturers and sellers miles apart having little chance to be together to talk deeply in detail together, to present the RV and camping industry in group in front of the public in an unprecedented large scale. So that the industry will be more known and get more attention from the public and the government, further more, make the whole industry develop more quickly and better, and finally the complete and mature industry chain formed.
“What should be pointed out is that the RV and camping show during the rally is different from the ordinary ones. Visitors here can not only see the RV products and camping goods, but also look at how people use those products and what RVing and camping life can be. Show in this way is indeed the first time ever and it’s a wonderful chance for the enterprises to let their products and brands known. Until now, it’s estimated that there will be tens of RVs shown.
“Meanwhile, 21RV will organize a seminar for the RV manufacturers, sellers to analyze the market, talk about and solve the difficulties the industry faces, share producing and sale experience, exchange the understanding and realization of the industry, forecast the future of the industry. What’s the most important, to let the companies know each other, complement each other’s advantages, and get better cooperation.
“Right now, RV and camping companies lack of contact and interchange. Each of them is look for development alone. It’s known that the development of an industry can not be realized unless the strength is unified. At present, RV and camping industry doesn’t receive enough attention from the society. Transportation laws and regulations are obscure, trailers cannot get plate easily, campgrounds and RV parks are rare to see. Chinese RV and camping industry has quite a long way to go to catch the ones in Europe and the U.S.. It’s believed that this rally will gather most of the people from this industry to form a large team, to make people realize and know and get into this kind of travel sooner. So this industry can grow bigger, more and more people can enjoy RVing and camping, the enterprises can enjoy the development earlier.
“This rally will be held in Beijing RV Exposition Center, which is a store that has all kinds of RVs, RV parts and accessories, and camping goods and equipments. The main area for this rally is more than 200 acres. It has quiet and beautiful environment, is covered by grass and trees. People can fish in more than four pools. In order to meet life needs during the show, 21RV has reached agreement to hotels and restaurants to provide services of high standard to the attendees.
El Monte RV has a prominent role in adopting nationwide standards for RV travel and tourism in China, according to a Chinese news release.
The release comes on the heels of a visit to China by El Monte’s Joe Laing, part of a U.S. delegation visiting the 3rd Annual Hangzhou China Outdoor Lifestyle Show March 4-7 and six months after a sizable Chinese delegation visited the National RV Show last December in Louisville, Ky.
Laing was invited to be part of a 10-person forum addressing Chinese media and government officials on concerns related to the establishment of a viable recreational vehicle industry and its related lifestyle in China. The international group was coordinated and hosted by N-Tours International, a tour promotion firm based in Beijing.
According to this week’s news release, China is to formulate a set of standards for motor touring centers, the China Automobile High-tech Industrialization Commission (CAHC) told a press briefing at the State Council Information Center in Beijing on Saturday (May 29).
“The domestic motoring travel market is huge, with as many as 200 million motorists touring every year, and more than 5,500 service centers scattered nationwide,” Chen Dongsheng, secretary general of CAHC, told the press.
“But the service centers lack adequate infrastructure and common service standards,” he added. “We are taking the initiative to formulate standards to regulate travel centers and create a comfortable environment for motorists.”
Chen said the draft standards would be ready by September. They will cover 11 areas, including hospitality, caravan (RV) sites, service facilities and security.
The standards will apply to automobile clubs, rescue services, parking sites, reception centers and vehicle after-sales services. “We are inviting them to work together to develop the standards,” Chen told China.org.cn.
El Monte RV, a U.S.-based rental company, will help draft the standards. “Recreational vehicles represent a new type of lifestyle in China. You can just drive your house around without worrying about booking accommodation,” said Yang Lin, deputy secretary general of CAHC and general manager of El Monte RV, China.
“Recreational vehicles have great potential in China. We plan to invest about 200 million yuan ($30 million U.S.) to build RV towns where motorhome drivers can stay while touring,” Chen said.
An intelligent booking service platform will also be set up. “With a click of the mouse, drivers will be able to get any information they need, and thus will save them both time and money.” Chen told China.org.cn.
The Chinese have jumped head first into accommodating the growing RV industry.
“What we got from the show is that there are a lot of Chinese people interested in RVing,” Laing told RVBUSINESS.com upon return from his tour. “The question remains how that interest will work itself out. Everyone is unsure how the Chinese RV industry is going to further evolve. The thought I most expressed to them is they should use the American RV industry as a framework or guideline. We have the most successful RV market and the best RV market in the world.”
China has an existing camping population, but it is nearly all tent camping and the existing campgrounds are organized for tenters only. The country also has a selection of national parks and other camping attractions. However, there are less than 50 RV campgrounds in all of China and no network of retailers or RV support businesses or publications.
For the first time in the history of the National RV Trade Show, the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) accommodated a large contingent of RV industry representatives from China.
During a reception Tuesday night (Dec. 1) in a Kentucky Exposition Center ballroom in Louisville, Ky., approximately 90 Chinese delegates networked with some of the major U.S. RV manufacturers, according to Jim Sheldon, RVIA chairman.
Tables were set up in the ballroom for the Chinese delegates to visit the U.S. company representatives on a one-to-one basis.
“The visitors from China represented a wide swath of interest, from those who could provide materials to U.S. manufacturers to those interested in establishing joint ventures to those interested in importing product into China,” he said.
The Chinese brought their own interpreters for the face-to-face event. “Some were more fluent in English than others and sometimes it was a challenge to communicate with the Chinese visitors,” he added.
“Following that, I observed the Chinese visitors revisited the displays on Wednesday,” Sheldon said. “From my standpoint, I had the sense the Chinese are serious about promoting the RV lifestyle in their country.”
Sheldon said he suspects the reception will set a pattern for future shows.
The face-to-face meeting this week was the latest in a series of contacts between RV industry representatives from the two countries. RVIA President Richard Coon and other industry officials have made several visits to Chinese trade fairs and conventions showcasing the RV industry in recent years.