Developing countries transformed by Chinese motorcycles.
With agricultural income increasing in recent years, an increasing amount of Chinese farmers have bought motorcycles of their own. And because of this fundamental changes have taken place in their life style.
Xiang Dong, an ordinary farmer of Fengjie County, in South-West China’s Chongqing municipality is not among the wealthy, but has been a motor-tricycle rider for many years.
He described the present-day life of his fellow villagers as "riding a motorcycle to visit relatives and friends, driving a tricycle to transport farm produce and goods for crops growing and cropland plowing."
In the past, horses, oxen and mules were invaluable for rural households in China. These animals played a key role in plowing farmland, fetching water and transporting crops from fields to the threshing floor. Carriages and oxcarts were the major transportation vehicles in the rural areas.
With the number of motor vehicles on the increase, horses, cattle and donkeys have become "rare animals" in Fengjie County nowadays.
According to CAAM (China Association of Automobile Manufacturers) the number of registered motor vehicles bought by farmers reached 59,700 in the region last year, bringing the total number of such vehicles to 577,000 or one for every two farming families.
Statistics available show that China had about 29 million motor vehicles in the rural areas in 2011 and its output of motor vehicles designed for farm use was 5.27 million. The price of a motorcycle is 4,000-5,000 Yuan, and a tricycle cost 6,000 to 7,000 Yuan, at these prices it is possible to eventually machanise every Chinese farmer.
But it’s not just for agricultural reasons that young Chinese country dwellers are turning to motorcycles. Xiang Dong reports, “In the past, none of the young girls in this village had married men who lived far away. However a friend who got married recently said her husband's home is 50 kilometers from her home in Fengping Village. It's the motorcycles and highways that have changed our life." A road leading to her then fiancée’s village was completed last year allowing them (with the aid of a motorcycle) their courtship time.
Currently, 99 percent of China's townships and 96 percent of its villages have access to highways. The total length of highways open to traffic in China has reached 2.6 million kilometres.
Vehicles also help enhance communication among local farmers and enrich their leisure time as in Baofeng Town in Pingluo County where the residents have set up more than 30 basketball teams and built over 20 basketball courts.
Su Shaoyun, head of the cultural station of Baofeng town said that many farmers ride their motorcycles to the town to take part in basketball competitions in the quiet season for farming.
Huang Hui an official with the regional agriculture and animal husbandry bureau said “wide use of motorcycles is a symbol of the improvement in the living standard of Chinese farmers and these modern vehicles also helped improve agricultural output and the quality of farmers' lives” but it’s not just the Chinese who are benefitting from China’s motorcycle manufacturers.