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A camper's life traveling the open road

By Shi Jing in Shanghai | China Daily | Updated: 2013-05-01 16:12

A camper's life traveling the open road

Inside a recreational vehicle, or RV, on show during a recent auto fair in Nanjing, the capital city of East China's Jiangsu province. With soft furnishings, tapped water, washroom and cooking facilities all onboard, many of the vehicles are literally mobile homes. Wang Luxian / for China Daily

Bored of your current life? Desperate to get away from the city? Feel like a change of scenery? Or looking for just a completely new start altogether?

Of course, all the above require equal amounts of money, time and courage.

But how about this for a temporary solution, at least?

Try getting away from reality, in your own mobile home, or camper van, or to be technically correct, your own "recreational vehicle".

The market for campers is growing fast in China, as more people realize that owning their own can mean all the pleasures of enjoying whatever new surroundings you want, without the trouble of having to relocate.

Shi Qiangqiang, marketing manager of Star Coach China, a leading supplier of vehicles, says the numbers of people doing just that are rising.

He has customers from China and from the United States, and the majority of buyers are individuals, spending on average 1.78 million yuan ($286,000) on a vehicle.

"We have been operating in China for 10 years, but we saw the biggest growth in 2011, when we made profits of 800 million yuan," he said, adding that some wealthy Chinese are now more likely to spend their hard-earned cash on a camper, than a sports car or SUV.

"I think buying one of those two shows a very poor understanding of a relaxed lifestyle - it's nothing but showing off.

"With a camper you have so many more interesting options. You can customize the vehicle in whatever way you want.

"You can hit the road when you like - there is no more relaxing a form of travel."

Wang Jidong, the general manager of Beijing Camper RV Co, has been selling them for 11 years, and he too says he's never seen sales growth like today.

He's a camper enthusiast himself, adding there is no better way to connect with the countryside than packing up and heading out of town.

Once you try traveling in one, he says, you will be hooked: "You'll never get the same pleasure out of a sedan."

The proud owner of a domestically produced Naveco camper, the 35-year-old Wang is also a lover of the great outdoors.

He says his camper has become even more important to him, since his first daughter arrived just over a year ago.

"If we had a sedan, the room would be very limited.

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