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China Seeing COVID-Influenced RV Rental Boom

With most international borders having been closed for the best part of 2020, mainland Chinese tourists have been exploring their own country instead. A small but growing number have been taking the road less travelled, driving rented or their own RVs.

“We took in the Great Wall, Miaofeng Mountain and the Fragrant Hills,” said Zhou Ziyan who, for around 900 yuan (U.S. $140) a day, booked an RV in October.

The Beijinger and her boyfriend spent three days exploring beyond the capital city limits. “Booking hotels is troublesome. I enjoy the feeling of camping. We could just leave the vehicle and enjoy the starry nights whenever we wanted.” Wild camping is legal in the mainland, as long as no fires are lit.

Such freedom is increasingly appealing to mainland Chinese in the COVID-19 era: according to figures from data platform Qichacha, 849 companies related to RV rental were established in China in the second quarter of 2020, a 36 per cent year-over-year increase.

Click here to read the full report from Elaine Yau in the South China Morning Post.

A major beneficiary has been the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corporation (SAIC), which both makes RVs and rents them out, through the RV2Go booking platform. The state-owned enterprise claims that, when it comes to RVs, it has 50 percent of the manufacturing market and 70 percent of the rental market in China. The company says rental income has risen 510 percent this year from last, and it has introduced new routes to appeal to customers.

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