The market for campers is growing fast in China, as more people realize that owning their own recreational vehicle means all the pleasures of enjoying whatever new surroundings you want.
A recreational vehicle on show during an exhibition in Beijing. (Credit: Li Wenming/China Daily)
The numbers of people doing just that are rising, Shi Qiangqiang, marketing manager of Star Coach China, a leading supplier of vehicles, recently told China Daily.
He has customers from China and the United States with the majority of buyers spending an average of 1.78 million yuan ($286,000) on a vehicle.
“We have been operating in China for 10 years, but we saw the biggest growth in 2011, when we made profits of 800 million yuan,” Qiangqiang said, adding that some wealthy Chinese are now more likely to spend their hard-earned cash on a camper, than a sports car or SUV.
“With a camper you have so many more interesting options. You can customize the vehicle in whatever way you want, continued Qiangqiang.
“You can hit the road when you like—there is no more relaxing a form of travel.”
Wang Jidong, the general manager of Beijing Camper RV Co, has been selling campers for 11 years, and he too says he’s never seen sales growth like today.
Jidong is a camper enthusiast himself, adding there is no better way to connect with the countryside than packing up and heading out of town.
Once you try traveling in one, he says, you will be hooked.
The proud owner of a domestically produced Naveco camper, the 35-year-old Jidong is also a lover of the great outdoors. He says his camper has become even more important to him, since his first daughter arrived just over a year ago.
Inside a RV on show during a recent auto fair in Nanjing, the capital city of East China’s Jiangsu province. (Credit: Wang Luxian/China Daily)
“Children easily get bored and tired and so can adults after sitting in the same position for too long. But in a camper, you can sit on a sofa, drink freshly brewed coffee, go to the restroom, and change diapers. You can even take a shower,” added Jidong.
“Traveling by camper is fun, no matter the distance.”
Jidong says most of the camper-owners he knows are 35 to 50-year-old, successful people who come from all walks of life.
According to Jidong, 80 percent of campers are used by families for household outings.
“The camper industry went through explosive growth in 2011, and there’s no reason to doubt that pace of growth will continue over the next two or three years,” he says.
According to Beijing Recreational Vehicle Center, camper numbers in China reached 10,000 at the end of last year, compared to 6.5 million in Europe, 9.6 million in the United States, and 80,000 in Japan, reports China Daily.
Also, there are many more campsites in those markets.
In the 2009 document, Opinions of the State Council on Accelerating the Development of Tourism Industry, campers were listed as among the country’s more potentially popular leisure items of the future, as the population continues to increase their personal spending.
In the Outline of National Tourism and Leisure (2013-2020), published in February this year, the General Office of the State Council underlined that construction of campsites would receive government support.
At the end of 2012, the local governments of Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Anhui, and Shanghai signed a Yangtze River Delta region camper travel outline, which detailed five ideal routes for camper travel, with two more now being planned.
The outline also highlighted that a network of 250 camper service stations will be established by the end of 2020 in the regions, by which time there will be 400 to 500 campsites.
Travelers recharging their RVs at a camping park in Beijing. (Credit: Zhao Guangxia/for China Daily)
“At present, there are more camper users in the northern part of China than in the south,” said Jidong.
“In the north, due to weather conditions, people have fewer chances to enjoy the outdoors,” he said, adding that the Yangtze Delta region is particularly enjoyed by camper owners from all over the country.
Sun Jiandong, a 30-year old graduate in tourism administration who has been working in the outdoor sports industry for about seven years, has also witnessed the growth in the camper industry, especially in the Yangtze River Delta region.
He says there are still too few campsites in China and most have poor facilities.
“But I am sure the industry will catch up with other international markets soon. The overseas camper industry has a history of more than 100 years. We cannot seek growth overnight. We have to do it step by step,” he said.
As well as more dedicated campsites, Jiandong says some of the country roads that users like to travel on are very poor.
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