Recreational vehicles take to the roads in numbers

By YU RAN in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2023-02-23 07:09
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Mi Yao parks in the countryside. CHINA DAILY

Extensive research

Unlike those buying on impulse, Mi Yao, 31, from Guangdong province, carefully selected his vehicle as a 30th birthday present after carrying out research on RVs for two years from 2020.

When he started working five or six years ago, he had already been to more than a dozen countries. Inspired by the RV culture in Europe and the US, Mi began learning everything he could about the vehicles.

"Compared with a normal road trip, the best things about RV travel are the comfort and the leisurely pace of life, as the vehicle's facilities and appliances provide me and my family with a greater sense of security. My vehicle is like a fully functional mobile supply depot," said Mi, who runs a media company that shoots travel videos. Every month, Mi makes an effort to take his parents for outings in the RV, and also travels in the vehicle on his own from time to time.

Although he has not traveled as much as full-time RV bloggers, he has had many unforgettable times on the road.

For example, when a severe spell of cold weather hit Guangdong province, he parked outdoors overnight just to experience the low temperatures. During a heavy downpour, he sat listening to the rain in his vehicle, which was the only one in the parking lot.

"For me, the best thing about RV trips is that they allow me to observe life from different perspectives and get closer to nature. The way in which I communicate has also been broadened by making videos about my RV travels," said Mi, who posts this footage on different platforms.

He suggests that first-time RV buyers determine whether they really need such a vehicle, and if they can cope with the parking problems that come with it.

"The RV is not a perfect combination of car and home, but it provides us with a new way of life completely different from the traditional. Some owners are full-time RV travel bloggers who travel to different places all year round, while others choose to use the vehicles as their home," Mi said.

He is now planning to make a trip of 15 to 25 days — his longest yet — possibly to scenic areas such as the southwest and northwest of the country.

Meanwhile, Qu Bei, 34, who comes from Henan province, uses his RV as a temporary home to avoid commuting to work in Beijing.

"Due to the pandemic last year, I had to spend much longer traveling back and forth every day, so I came up with the idea of having an RV as a home, with lower costs and greater efficiency," Qu said. In 2015 he could not afford an apartment in Beijing, so he bought a small one in a neighboring city.

It took him about three months to decide to buy an RV fitted with solar panels and other facilities. Since then, he has stationed the vehicle in a parking lot near his office, and it takes him just three minutes to get "home" after work.

"The biggest problem of living in the RV is the limited use of water and electricity, so I have to calculate usage regularly to ensure I have sufficient supplies. I also have to overcome noise by wearing earplugs to sleep," Qu said.

He recently posted a video online comparing life in the RV to living in a rented apartment in Beijing. Qu, who received many inquiries about using the RV as a mobile home, said that perhaps more people want to follow him in exploring the numerous uses of these vehicles.

"They offer a new way of life for Chinese people, as RVs relieve the pressure of buying a property," he said.

According to QYResearch, the scale of China's RV market in 2021 rose to 27.17 billion yuan from 2.19 billion yuan in 2014, and was expected to reach 33.43 billion yuan last year.

However, there are still problems to be solved before the RV market achieves mature development in China.

Du said: "There are not enough camp sites for RVs, which is the key factor limiting development of this market in China. Manufacturers of these vehicles should improve quality to meet buyers' needs, while purchasers should avoid buying on impulse simply to follow a trend."

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