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CHANGING CURRENTS
REFLECTIONS
The MEDIUM, the MESSAGE and the SAUSAGE DOG
CYCLING TO XANADU
THE CHINESE DREAM
CHINESE NEW YEAR ADS
BEYOND THE WALL
ANYONE FOR TENNIS?
VIEWS FROM ABOARD THE CHINA EXPRESS:
1 Zola and Retail Marketing
2 Playing the Waiting Game
3 Beware the Ides of March
4 The county not on a map
5 Chinese Chess in Beijing
6 Build it and They'll Come
7 Riding the Water Dragon
8 The Best of Both Worlds
9 Storming the Great Wall
10 Welcome to the Wangba
11 The Catcher in the Rice
12 The Marriage Business
13 The Crouching Dragon
14 Counting the Numbers
15 A Century of Migration
16 Shooting for the Stars
17 Rise of Yorkshire Puds
18 Harry Potter in Beijing
19 Standing Out in China
20 Self-pandactualisation
21 Strolling on the Moon
22 Tea with the Brothers
23 Animated Guangzhou
24 Trouble on the Farms
25 Christmas in Haerbin
26 Dave pops into Tesco
27 A Breath of Fresh Air
28 The Boys from Brazil
29 Rolls-Royce on a roll
30 The Great Exhibition
31 Spreading the Word
32 On Top of the World
33 Moonlight Madness
34 Beijing's Wild West
35 Avatar vs Confucius
36 Brand Ambassadors
37 Inspiring Adventure
38 China's Sweet Spot
39 Spinning the Wheel
40 Winter Wonderland
41 The End of the Sky
42 Ticket to Ride High
43 Turning the Corner
44 Trouble in Toytown
45 Watch with Mother
46 Red-crowned Alert
47 In a Barbie World
48 Domestic Arrivals
49 Tale of Two Taxis
50 Land of Extremes
51 Of 'Mice' and Men
52 Tour of the South
53 Brooding Clouds?
54 The Nabang Test
55 Guanxi Building
56 Apple Blossoms
57 New Romantics
58 The Rose Seller
59 Rural Shanghai
60 Forbidden Fruit
61 Exotic Flavours
62 Picking up Pace
63 New Year, 2008
64 Shedding Tiers
65 Olympic Prince
66 London Calling
67 A Soulful Song
68 Paradise Lost?
69 Brandopolises
70 Red, red wine
71 Finding Nemo
72 Rogue Dealer
73 Juicy Carrots
74 Bad Air Days
75 Golden Week
76 Master Class
77 Noodle Wars
78 Yes We Can!
79 Mr Blue Sky
80 Keep Riding
81 Wise Words
82 Hair Today
83 Easy Rider
84 Aftershock
85 Bread vans
86 Pick a card
87 The 60th
88 Ox Tales
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2001 to 2007
BIRDS IN CHINA - PHOTOS
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ABOUT & CONTACT

Easy Rider

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The “walking green man” was suddenly replaced by a static red one. The woman stopped abruptly.  The boy at her side, who had his eyes on other things, continued to walk forward.  The secure grip of the vigilant woman tightened as she pulled the boy back from the road and the menacing cars that had already begun to speed by.

  

   "Look!" scolded the woman, gesturing to the cars that had threatened to claim yet another young life. The boy was looking, but not at the cars that were now whizzing past his left ear.  He continued looking to his right.

  

  “Beautiful,” said the boy.  “How Cool!”.

  

  I glanced over at the subject of his gaze.  He was looking at a motorbike.  A big one with extravagant wing mirrors glinting in the sun.  I prefer bikes without engines, so was more impressed by the boy's reaction than by the machine’s presence.

  

  "Harley Davidson?" I asked myself.  Although, on closer inspection, it didn’t quite have the “Born to be Wild” look of a Harley, which is quite a rare sight in these parts, but not quite as rare as hen’s teeth (Regular readers of this column – both of you – may remember that, several months ago, I wrote about a visit I made to a Harley dealership in Beijing.)  The boy – who clearly knows more about motorbike brands than I do – put the record straight:  “Jincheng!” he exclaimed.

  

  The lights changed, the bike was about to turn left, so I moved back several yards to be in a position to capture the scene I was witnessing (see photo). 

 

  Jincheng had been a hot topic several months ago on Chinese blogs and forums, following the Nanjing company’s participation in this year’s Dakar Rally.  The motorsport event – which moved from Africa to South America (Chile and Argentina) in 2009 – is considered to be the world’s most gruelling motor race.

  

  The move to South America has made it even tougher – not least because five of the 14 rally stages of the 2010 race passed through Chile’s Atacama desert, which is purported to be the driest place on Earth.

  

  Jincheng sponsored two riders in the 2010 event – Su Wenmin and Wei Guanghui, both of whom managed to complete the 9,574 km course (despite a number of mishaps along the way).  They finished 75th and 82nd respectively (out of 161 entrants in the class). 

  

  The sponsorship of the team is a statement of Jincheng’s global ambitions.  According to Dakar.com, the event’s official website, news from the rally was seen by a staggering 2.2 billion people.  As well as an avalanche of Internet coverage, the 2010 race was broadcast by 80 TV channels to 189 countries.  Jincheng sells 600,000 motorbikes a year, spread across more than a third of those countries, according to its home website.  The company’s country websites – from Africa to South America – trumpet its participation in the event. 

 

  It’s impossible to know how many boys in Argentina, Chile, Nigeria, or South Africa would react as the boy in Beijing did.  Not many I would suspect.  But, there’s no doubt that Jincheng are going out of their way to make an impression and to write a new chapter in their illustrious history... In 1949, they maintained the aircraft that flew over Chairman Mao’s head during the ceremony at Tiananmen, at which the founding of the People’s Republic of China was proclaimed.

 

  These days the sound of a Jincheng engine can be heard by tens of millions of people in 70 countries… as well by the unsuspecting llamas in Chile’s Atacama desert. A source of pride, no doubt, for many of the Chinese boys who, one day, will be looking to buy the bike of their dreams.  

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