Be There or Be SquareChinese RV fandom has been attributed to the popular 1999 movie Be There or Be Square, which features a Beijinger who lives in an RV and makes money by working odd jobs in Los Angeles. However, RV expansion in the country has been slow as a result of high costs, legal issues, and a lack of proper infrastructure to support the industry. In 2015 alone, Chinese roadtrippers made 2.34 billion trips. This number is expected to double by 2020 -- an increase largely attributed to the growth of China’s middle class and the increasing popularity of roadtrip vacations. To put things into perspective, consider this: the US has more than 16,000 private and public RV parks across the country, Europe has 50,000, and Japan 2,000. In comparison, China has fewer than 500. The Chinese account for only one per cent of the world’s total RV owners. Still, to the Chinese the RV lifestyle is about more than vacationing; it’s about having a sense of freedom. As one RV enthusiast says: “This was the lifestyle I wanted, the sense of freedom.”
So many RVs, so few campgroundsDespite the popularity of RVing. China lacks decent RV campgrounds. At the end of 2014, China only had about 200 campgrounds, and less than 50 of these had all the necessary RV amenities. Some campgrounds lack even the basics, including water, electricity, and waste disposal, while others aren’t located near any tourist attractions or entertainment options. Beijing has seen RV campgrounds spring up around the city to fill demand, but some RV owners remain concerned that they will not be able to find parking for their campers in the city. It is hoped that trailer parks can provide an option for long-term storage, as well as rest stops for travelers passing through the major city. Despite a few bumps in the road (pun intended), the RV industry is picking up in this country of almost 1.4 billion people. As a matter of fact, China even hosts two major RV shows: the China Beijing International RV and Camping Exhibition, which takes place in March, and the All In Caravaning Show in June. Perhaps China will get a little more orange in the future.
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