Luxury bicycles - the new status symbol in China

Luxury bicycles are the new darlings of the fashionable and wealthy in China, reported the Wall Street Journal China Chinese-language website Wednesday.

To capitalize on this demand, Chinese fashion retailer Shanghai Tang has specially launched a limited-edition luxury fixed-gear bicycle, combining the designing talents of Shanghai Tang menswear designer Armele Barbier and Dutch bike-maker Colossi Cycling's Jan Kole. Shanghai Tang has called the new bike, reportedly retailing at US$1,200, a "modern tribute to the iconic Chinese black bicycle", paying homage to the Chinese ‘Flying Pigeon' bicycle which was a ubiquitous sight in many Chinese cities during the 1950s.

German car maker BMW is also leveraging on the growing Chinese demand for luxury bicycles, retailing its newest premium range of bicycles in its lifestyle boutiques in cities around the country. Prices of these luxury bicycles go up as high as 55,000 RMB (US$8,670). Currently, BMW's bestselling bike in China is the ‘Cruise' model, which retails at 13,000 RMB (US$2,050), BMW China spokesperson Hedy Luo told the news daily.

At the Asia Bike 2012 event in Nanjing in July, a yearly trade event showcasing the newest luxury bicycles and cycling accessories from around the world, several high-end models were on display. Highlights of the event included a custom-made bike Pearson priced at RMB 280,000 (US$44,135) and an E-bike from Mercedes-Smart.

"Seventy-five percent of exhibitors come from abroad which shows how much the international bicycle industry is focusing on the emerging Chinese market for luxury and sport bikes," Knut Jaeger, chairman of the trade show, told sports website Triathlon Business.

EW

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