Reuters Interviews Rich Crank, Concludes Luxury Bikes Are Cool In Greater China

Audi luxury bike

Foreign commissioning editors get a lot of pitches like this: “The Chinese are now watching Homeland / eating caviar / behaving like us.” These activities usually owe to the fact that a few ultra-wealthy Chinese have found some new, pointlessly expensive Western habit — like high-end gold hi-fi aficionado clubs, or bottles of purified Moon water with powdered diamante — and taken them up. The reasons behind this – an absence of proper leisure culture, the need to splash money like a great white shark constantly on the move, the narrowness of investment opportunities in China, etc. – are often far more interesting than the habit itself.

So here’s an example of utter, utter bollocks. A news group interviews one super-wealthy enthusiast and a shop owner in Hong Kong (Hong Kong!) to conclude that “more and more Chinese” are buying luxury bikes as status symbols. The group doesn’t do the most basic journo-hackery “due diligence” of finding three individuals to conclude that this is apparently a trend.

This weekend I bought a 3,200-kuai Tern Link D8 that most Chinese would rightly consider exorbitant. (It was a Christmas present to myself, OK?) The first shop I tried, an HK retailer called R Bike in Solana that reportedly stocked highly affordable, high-end folders by Ferrari, JEEP (brands mentioned in the embedded film), etc., was unexpectedly shuttered, the small, second-floor concession as quiet as the rest of Solana. The next store, Serk, where I made the purchase, is a bike bar off Dongzhimen Beixaiojie that should be teeming with hipsters; they said business was so quiet, they were barely opening in winter. Then there’s the Drive Thru, a nifty bike-bottle-shop-bar-spice thang in SOHO that’s like a graveyard by day until Sanlitun’s offices close and the lycra’ed two-wheeler enthusiasts drop by to mingle between 7 and 9 pm.

With such lackadaisical research, spurious claims and circumstantial “evidence,” you would assume today’s edition of Chinabollocks must have been spawned within a foreign newsroom with zero overseas resources and a vague, foggy China knowledge, right? Or, maybe it was, you know… Reuters.


(H/T Shanghaiist)

11 Responses to “Reuters Interviews Rich Crank, Concludes Luxury Bikes Are Cool In Greater China”

  1. NO!

    Fight spurious claims backed by lackadaisical research and circumstantial evidence with circumstantial evidence and lackadaisical research! Rah rah

    Reply
    • RFH

      Exactly: if you cherry-pick circumstantial evidence, you can draw any conclusion you wish. That’s what at least two people have told me, anyway

      Reply
  2. Little larry

    Reason being is that Rueters and other western news agencies here in Asia are more concerned with hiring people who speak the local language. I have an excellent CV and had job interviews at many of these places, despite my more than decade of experience at proper news organizations (No, I’m not some blogger who fancies himself a journalist) none of them wanted me. Then I found out the people actually working there are people who studied Chinese in school and had little to no real journalism experience.

    I had a couple interviews at local mags and such as well, and wasn’t hired for what i suspect was a different reason, the editors don’t want people who actually know what they’re doing working there….cause the editors have no idea how to actually do their jobs and are intimidated.

    Either way, I have had a hard time trusting “publications” out of China ever since seeing how it works.

    Reply
    • MS

      I’m not defending Reuters here at all, but….you want to work at a news agency, IN CHINA, and you don’t speak Chinese? LOL.

      I’m sure you would be similarly shocked and angered to be passed over for a job with the Associated Press in Paris despite not speaking French.

      Reply
      • Little larry

        Um… many foreign correspondents don’t speak Chinese or the native language of where they are located, and the reason Reuters does it the way it does is to save money.

        Sorry, but saving a few bucks a month on a translator should come second to having reporters who actually KNOW how to be reporters. You have inexperienced people doing the job and hence letting people down and the above article is a perfect example.

        Also, I do speak Chinese, just not well enough to conduct interviews.

        Reply
  3. Gay Chevara

    Oh man wouldn’t it be great to start getting entire groups of middle-class Chinese interested in pointless past times? I’m thinking juggling, street mime and/or ketchup tasting.

    Reply
  4. KopyKatKiller

    Some nice fold-able bikes… if you are into that sort of thing. Ferrari bikes lol! What utter crap.

    Anyway, I am a bike enthusiast. Have been for years. All I can say from living here or years is that China has a very lame biking culture. Perhaps 1 in 1 million bikes here are nice bikes. And as for manufacturing goes, there is not one high end bike part manufactured in China.

    The parts list on one of my bikes, a single speed dirt jumper, mountain bike, reads like a part list of the first world. farm, made in Canada. Pedals, handle grips, stem, made in the USA. Rear hub, brakes and rotors, made in Germany, handle bars, cranks, and front hub, seat post, made in Taiwan, Spokes and hoops, made in Sweden, fork, made in Italy… have I forgotten anything…. Not a damn thing from China.

    Building a new bike now (my 4th in China, I have 2 24″ wheel BMX cruisers here too). Waiting for my 18,000 rmb frame to arrive from America. Hand built in the USA, oh yeah. Another 18k spent on the rest of what makes up a bike, and I’ll be able to hit the HangZhou hills. Building this bike, getting parts (the right parts) has proven to be extremely difficult. I figure it’ll be 9 months from my first order before I have it put together and use-able. That’s China. an extremely hard place to get a good bike

    So I scoff at this report. Not because of the bullockness of the claims about Chinese buying nice bikes, but because they make it sound like it’s as easy as apple pie to buy (To build from parts actually. Only newbies buy bikes), in China. Hahaha! Chinese wouldn’t know a nice bike if it bit them in the ass.

    Oh yeah. His most expensive bike worth nearly 2000 US dollars…. hahaha. I thought they were interviewing “rich” Chinese. And the guy that came into the shop asking what’s the best and most expensive.. Hahahahaa. what a douche! I would have sold him the crappiest bike there for 10x it’s value. It’s not like he’d ever ride the damn thing. Perhaps a Giant with a “ge” sound for the G, an ‘ee” sound for the I, and an “ah” sound for the A and told him it was a famous French brand… Haahaha!

    Reply
    • Total Eclipse of the Twat

      But isn’t that the case with most things Chinese nouveau riche buy? Just look at all the jeeps and sports cars being driven at 5 Mph in the city by people without a clue. Their most off-beat car experience is actually using their turn signals.

      Reply
  5. Guangdong EXPAT

    In the Guangdong region there has been a big big boom with luxury bicycles.

    It seems everybody here is buying a new mountain bike for around 1500- 8000rmb

    You can see them driving around in big groups or as individuals. IT really is a hype right now in this region. If you just look at the number of shops that are selling them compared to just one year ago you will see that this reuters reporter came to the right conclusion .

    Reply

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