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Our love affair with cars

Viewed 4456 times 2013-1-6 17:52 |System category:News| first, love, industry, company, getting

Six months after getting his first job as a hospital administrator in Wuhan, Li Zhenxing wants to buy a car. He wants it so bad that the 24-year-old came to Beijing this week for the annual auto exhibition to see what’s on offer.


He is in good company. China’s booming auto industry has been fuelled by young people’s passion to own cars.


A survey conducted by the British Council in China indicated that given the money, more than 80 percent of people born in the 1980s and 1990s would buy a car, according to a report by Xinhua News Agency.


Living in a shared apartment and riding a bus to work, Li sees not much difference between his life as a young professional and the campus life he kissed goodbye not long ago.


“Having a car can mark my leap from student to real adult,” said Li stating another reason apart from the obvious ones such as convenience and greater mobility.


Yang Jin, a salesman at an auto dealer in Guangzhou, sees more people like Li coming into the showroom. Yang said that car ownership among those born in the mid 1980s to 1990s has exploded in the last couple of years.


According to Patrick Blain, president of Paris-based International Organization of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, 10 years ago, China counted for 4 percent of world car production. Now that figure is almost 25 percent, and China is the world’s number one car manufacturer.


“The Chinese market has become vital to the world’s auto industry,” said Blain in a Q&A session on the Auto Industry Forum of Beijing International Automotive Exhibition over the weekend.


Although to many college students buying a car still seems either distant or unnecessary, for them driving a car can make differences.


With rental on budget hire cars as low as 69 yuan a day, it has become affordable for college students to hire a car to meet their mobility needs.


In Wang Xuwen’s class on the campus of the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE), only a few classmates are without drivers’ licenses. Renting a car is gaining momentum among younger drivers on campus.


The 22-year-old junior at UIBE recently rented a car to have an outing with roommates to the Great Wall, which proved a success.


“It was so much better than the guided tour,” said Wang. “We could pull over when there was a stunning view and take pictures. Next time, we shall go further.”


On the school’s BBS (bulletin board system), some students suggested a group city tour in cars for spring.


Li from Wuhan has his eyes on a small, fuel-efficient car which he saw at the auto show in Beijing. He cannot wait to buy it in the near future. “So that I can start dating,” he explained.


(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




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