Trendy and rich Chinese have turned their eyes on expensive bicycles. While the Chinese bicycle market is estimated by Reuters to grow by 10 percent annually, the high-end segment is forecasted to grow by as much as 15 percent.
China’s new upper class is buying bicycles that cost more than the average citizen makes in three years. While it now is the world’s biggest auto market, the bicycle has become a new status symbol for wealthy and health-conscious executives.
According to Zhou Jiannong, general manager of Rbike Networks Ltd in China, “Demand for mainstream luxury items such as premium cars, watches has come to a point of saturation. High-income groups now turn to high-end bikes to show off the uniqueness in taste and healthy lifestyle.
A Hong Kong based bicycle supplier even took an order last December for 1,000 expensive bikes from a Chinese financial firm as a year-end bonus for their employees. Traditional gifts such as wines and tobacco are not very popular anymore.
While these bikes are easily labeled 100 times the price of a Flying Pigeon, China’s official bike since 1950, the price is not an issue for the many high-income Chinese. They are simply looking for the best two-wheeled vehicle and are motivated by nostalgia for the days when two wheels were the primary means of transport.