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Motorcycle popularity begins to accelerate

By LIU YUKUN | China Daily | Updated: 2022-12-09 12:24

Motorcycle enthusiasts show their riding skills during an international motorcycle trade expo in Chongqing in November. CHEN CHAO/CHINA NEWS SERVICE

Even spending on small things can add up. The market for helmets in China is expected to reach about 2 billion yuan by the end of this year, according to Market Monitor, a consulting firm in Changsha, Hunan province.

Li, CEO and head of a sports accessory business and an outdoor adventure veteran, is planning a new line to sell off-road motoring equipment to tap another growing market.

He now runs a company called Aosheng Extreme Distributor, which carries equipment for skiing and other sports.

"I started the business selling ski equipment two decades ago. At that time, the sport was not as well known, so our customer base was just a few hundred skiers in Beijing. But now, we are selling to numerous buyers and about 90 distributors across the country," Li said.

"The motorcycle sector is about to take off. We want to grab the opportunity and are confident about our prospects," he added.

An Fuxiu, founder of Sportbank, a Beijing-based sports industry think tank, said the growing popularity of motorcycles has helped many types of business such as training, apparel and accessories, competition organizations and outdoor activities such as mountain motorcycling.

According to online retailer JD, the motorcycle category saw a better-than-expected performance in this year's 618 shopping event, the largest mid-year shopping festival in China, with motorcycle sales increasing 106 percent year-on-year, helmets up 202 percent and other motorcycle equipment up 280 percent.

"Some fans want to modify their motorcycles. Those who like retro styles might replace the light and handles, those who pursue individuality may change their motorcycles' color and those who care more about the machine's configurations will increase the displacement, etc. Other modifications to motorcycles are also spurring a market," Liu said.

There is much more to spend money on. Liu said she had just parted with some 300,000 yuan to buy a motorcycle plate with a number preceded by "Jing A".

"Beijing's motorcycle license plates are divided into two types: numbers starting with Jing A and those starting with Jing B. Only motorcycles with the Jing A plate can be ridden throughout the city (except for roads such as the Chang'an Avenue and its extension), but issuance of that plate has long since been halted. So now, Jing A motorcycle license plates are traded for a high price," Liu said.

There were over 1.4 million companies whose businesses are related to motorcycling as of early September, according to Qichacha, a corporate information provider. There were 148,000 new registrations of motorcycle-related companies in the first half of 2022, up 52.6 percent year-on-year.

"The motorcycle sporting sector presents good development opportunities. But in order to achieve long-term development, more efforts are needed to create a relatively mature industry system. Government support will also promote the industry's development," An said.

In October, a new development plan on outdoor activities called for improving motorcycle road trip routes and camping services in designated areas. The plan was a joint effort of the General Administration of Sport, six other national-level departments and China State Railway Group Co Ltd.

"We are likely to see an increasing number of motorcycle competitions and clubs," An said.

"The downstream motorcycle parts manufacturing industry will move to greener and more energy-efficient production. There is also a growing chance we'll see motorcycle riding combine with other outdoor activities such as mountaineering, camping and tourism — even e-sports and virtual reality," An said.

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