More people are choosing to explore the country with recreational vehicles (RV). Wang Xudong, manager of the RV fan site 21rv.com speaks about the growing popularity of RVs with METRO.
What's the current situation of the RV industry in China?
By 2007 there were roughly 30 companies producing RVs in China. But the total output of RVs was very small, perhaps just a couple of hundred vehicles every year.
Chinese RV owners are mostly aged between 40 and 55, but we are also seeing many younger people renting these vehicles now.
There are around 20,000 RVs in China, with 300 travel trailers and 1,700 campervans. A quarter of RVs in China are from Germany and the US.
The prices of RVs vary a lot. Chinese-made RVs are sold for between 100,000 and 400,000 yuan ($14,600 to $58,600).
But imported RVs can cost as much as 1 million yuan. I think RVs are affordable in China but they are a little more expensive than regular cars.
Are RVs used as status symbols?
I don't think they are symbol of wealth. Some owners might park their RVs in their yards to show off, but this isn't common. Most RVs are used for traveling.
Many movie stars use RVs because they need room to rest when they shoot films in less developed areas. An RV is a motor home and convenient.
Currently more and more people rent RVs for holiday and travel.
For example, young people who like adventure are renting them to undertake long-distance trips and families use them to visit the countryside or take a short holiday.
Could anything block the industry's development in China?
There are many restrictions on RVs.
For example, only people who have A2 licenses can pull travel trailers behind their cars, but there are very few qualified drivers in Beijing. A standard car license is C1 or C2.
So this is a big problem. There is no clear definition for travel trailers in China's vehicle system and it's hard to get a license plate.
When a travel trailer in Beijing was issued a normal trailer license in March, it became the first licensed travel trailer in China.
This slows the development of travel trailers in China, right when they continue to dominate the European and American RV markets.
Another problem relates to a lack of RV campsites. At present, we do not have specialized camp areas for RV travelers in Beijing.
It's hard to find somewhere for travelers to refill their water and electricity.
Instead, some are forced to park in open areas that can be dangerous at night.
What's the future for the RV industry in China?
The RV industry in China has only just started, but it has huge potential.
We need to combine the experiences from European countries with our country's situation.
We can place more emphasis on producing, marketing, and building camps.
Finally, we should build a comprehensive industry with support from travel agencies, clubs, rental companies and camps, specific to the RV sector.