Chinese hunger for car ownership: survey

Updated: 2010-09-07 21:42
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BEIJING -- A nation-wide survey run by China Youth Daily found over half of the respondents plan to buy cars, the newspaper reported Tuesday.

The survey polled 1,541 respondents, 40.3 percent of whom were from small and medium sized cities, and 43.3 percent were from provincial or municipal capital cities.

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Of the 1,541 respondents, 60.2 percent said they were planning to buy a car in the next five years, while 16 percent already had one. Only 21.1 percent had ruled out buying a car.

Also according to the survey, the majority of respondents considered the "convenience" of having a car as the salient reason for wanting to own one.

Ma Liwei, a graduate student of Tsinghua University, bought a car one month ago. He said, "The outreach of buses and subways is still limited, but with a car, I can go everywhere. Besides, driving saves time and effort compared to catching public transport."

However, as China's car ownership skyrockets, traffic jams are becoming a huge headache in many cities. According to statistics, the number of cities with over one million vehicles has reached 15.

Beijing Transportation Research Center recently predicted that Beijing's average driving speed would drop to below 15 kilometers an hour by 2015.

The China Youth Daily survey also showed that one fourth of the respondents wanted to buy cars out of peer pressure and associated cars with their social status.

Sun Shijin, professor in psychology with Fudan University was quoted by newspaper as saying, "More and more people tend to use cars as show-off to satisfy their spiritual emptiness."