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From in the sky to on the road

By Yang Feiyue | China Daily | Updated: 2016-08-31 07:18

From in the sky to on the road

Li Yujun is among an emerging group of Chinese who are renting cars to explore various destinations. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Li is among an emerging group of Chinese who are renting cars as more people get driver's licenses and seek immersive travel.

About 320 million people in the country held a license as of the end of last year, the Ministry of Public Security's traffic administration reports.

Over 40 percent of travelers who book through China's biggest online travel agency, Ctrip, rent cars. The company's rentals are growing at 150 percent year-on-year, says Wang Yuchen, CEO of Ctrip's ground transportation division.

Rentals have doubled in Yunnan's Dali and Lijiang, and in Guizhou's capital, Guiyang.

Roughly 40 percent of renters are from Beijing and Shanghai. There's strong growth among residents of Guangdong province's Shenzhen and capital, Guangzhou; Sichuan province's capital, Chengdu; and Zhejiang province's capital, Hangzhou.

"We've found most renters prefer three-day trips," Wang says.

The agency's car-rental business covers nearly 300 cities nationwide.

Rental costs an average of about 560 yuan ($84) a day for a three-day trip in Hainan's provincial capital, Sanya-the nation's top destination for car rentals-which is roughly half the price of tailored taxi services, Ctrip reports.

People between 25 and 35 account for 50 percent of car renters, and travelers 35-45 account for 25 percent, Ctrip reports. Three times as many men as women rent cars.

Desires for convenience and freedom are steering the growth, especially among younger travelers.

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