November 22, 2014 08:44 UTC

As It Is

We Visit An Automobile Show in China

A new Baojun 630 sedan is displayed at the Shanghai International Auto Show Thursday, April 21, 2011 in Shanghai, China.
A new Baojun 630 sedan is displayed at the Shanghai International Auto Show Thursday, April 21, 2011 in Shanghai, China.

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
Documents

Hello, and welcome to “As It Is” -- our daily show for people learning American English. I’m Christopher Cruise in Washington.
 
Today on the program, we go to an automobile show in China, a country where car sales have risen 13 percent from a year ago…
 
“We are increasing our local content here in this country. And next month we are opening the first engine plant with the capacity of 250 thousand units outside of Germany for Mercedes engines.”
 
But first…the number of people visiting South Africa is increasing. As Chinese investment in the country grows, so does the number of Chinese traveling there…
 
The number of people visiting South Africa grew by almost 10 percent last year. One country helping that number grow is China. Recently, a large crowd of Chinese visited the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town, South Africa. As Mario Ritter tells us, they were looking around, taking pictures and speaking in Mandarin.

Chinese investment has been growing in South Africa. So has the number of Chinese visiting the country.
 
China sends the fourth-largest number of tourists to South Africa. More than 130,000 Chinese tourists went there last year. Europeans remain the biggest tourism group. But the percentage of Chinese tourists grew by 56 percent from 2011 to 2012.
 
Beverly Schafer is a member of Cape Town’s city government. She represents an area that is home to the waterfront promenade and a famous soccer stadium. She says the sport helped increase the number of visitors.
 
“The fact that Cape Town was so showcased around the natural beauty of it where our games were being held, that it opened up the door to tourism such as our Chinese and Asian tourists.” 
 
South Africa’s travel industry has been noting the growing number of Chinese tourists. Mariette Du Toit-Helmbold has been head of Cape Town Tourism. She says the industry is looking for Mandarin-speaking guides and has started providing information in Mandarin.
 
But she adds that local businesses need to make big changes if they plan to market to this group.
 
“So I think the message, really out to, you know, the industry, has been, for us, really understand what are you getting yourself into first. Make sure you are geared up to cater for, specifically for the needs of the Chinese market.”
 
There are several reasons for the increase of Chinese tourists. Ms. Du Toit-Helmbold notes South Africa’s inclusion in the economic group BRICS, of which China is a member. In addition, South Africa recently added visa processing centers in Beijing and Shanghai. And South African Airways last year added direct flights between Beijing and Johannesburg.
 
Shuting Lunn is a Mandarin-speaking tour guide in Cape Town. She says demand for her services has increased since she started in the business 10 years ago. She says she once was lucky to get a group of travelers once a month. Now, she has to refuse some groups.
 
Cape Town’s tourism industry has been directed toward Europeans and Americans, who often travel in smaller groups or as couples. However, the Chinese market is aimed at larger groups.
 
I’m Mario Ritter.
 
China is strengthening its image as the most important market for the automobile industry. Chinese auto sales are up 13 percent from one year ago. Industry observers are predicting total sales of over 20 million vehicles this year. By comparison, a little more than 15 million vehicles are expected to be sold in the United States.
 
The importance of the Chinese market could be seen at the Shanghai auto show. Industry representatives there were showing products designed to meet China’s growing demand for luxury cars and larger vehicles.
 
Dave Schoch is with the Ford Motor Company. He welcomed the chance to meet with thousands of possible car buyers.
 
“So you’ve got 30 million customers out there, all with different tastes and different affordability levels. And what Ford wants to do is bring our global, the power and leverage of our global lineup, you know from small to medium to large, into China.”
 
However, competition can be fierce. Dieter Zetsche is the chairman of the German auto manufacturer Daimler AG.
 
“We are increasing our local content here in this country. And next month we are opening the first engine plant with the capacity of 250 thousand units outside of Germany for Mercedes engines.”
 
Many Chinese see cars as a sign of success. Yale Zhang is with Automotive Foresight, an industry group. He says the rising demand for top quality automobiles is a sign of China’s rise as an economic superpower.
 
“This market (is) becoming more like a European or American style.”
                                          
Demand has been especially high for larger sport utility vehicles -- SUVs. Karsten Engel is head of the BMW group in China. He says the spacious insides of SUVs appeal to the newly-rich, although some will probably never drive them.
 
“The ultimate driving machine: You probably experience a lot from the, from the rear seat with your driver, so you, you need more space. You want more space. You want to have the possibility to work in the car.”
 
That is something Stefan Brungs understands. He is the marketing director for the automaker Bugatti.
 
“And this is what Chinese have learned and perceived as luxury -- to sit in the back and be chauffeured.”
 
The demand for larger cars is strong. Yet environmental issues and fuel concerns are leading to increased interest in vehicles with better fuel economy. Nissan’s Asia Vice President Andy Palmer.
 
“Four years ago, when we introduced the, the concept of an electric car, most of, most of our colleagues in the industry thought we’d lost our minds. Now it doesn’t look so stupid, you know?
 
For now, observers say new hybrid and electric technology is not a major force in the Chinese market. New information shows sales of SUVs are up nearly 50 percent from a year ago. And experts say SUV sales are likely to double by 2015.
 
And that’s “As It Is.” We hope you enjoyed our program today.
 
Every day on “As It Is,” we explore the latest events and report on issues of concern to you. We would love to know what you want to hear about on our show. Write to us at:
 
VOA Learning English
Voice of America
Washington, DC 20237
United States of America

 
Or send an email to LearningEnglish@voanews.com  
 
Or go to our website -- learningenglish.voanews.com -- and click “Contact Us.”
 
Follow us on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter at VOA Learning English.

From all of us of at The Voice of America, thanks for listening!
 
Remember, for the latest world news, listen to VOA at the start of every hour, Universal Time.
 
I’m Christopher Cruise, and that’s “As It Is” on the Voice of America.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Francisco from: Chile
06/23/2013 5:53 PM
I think that China is probably the next big superpower in economies because I can see that here in my country, they are leading business and important position at our industries also they have a lot of people knowing other economies. We ought to know more about them


by: Yao Yuan-chao from: Taipei, Taiwan
06/21/2013 9:23 AM
Large number of Chinese tourists to South Africa and mass production of auto in China is an indicator of how fast China's economy has been developed, which I observe is attributed to there having been no war over past decades and outstanding leadership in the central government.


by: BIJU.P.Y. from: SOUTH INDIA
06/20/2013 11:52 PM
Thank you. Me think, China is running neck to neck with U.S..A in the manufacture of cars. Their new venture would produce good results. But I am afraid, such ventues may plunge China into capitalism. Thank you.


by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
06/19/2013 12:05 AM
I suppose small and economical cars would become more popular than large and wasteful viecles in China not in a far future. China does not have so much energy resources originally against our expectations to allow citizens to keep enjoying luxuries.


by: HAYATİ from: BÜYÜKADA-İSTANBUL
06/17/2013 8:19 AM
Hi guys, I would like more articles in your programme about the history and geography of USA . Thank you in advance,
Yours sincerely
Hayati

Learn with The News

  • Obama Immigration

    Video Republicans Promise to Fight Obama on Immigration

    Republican Party lawmakers are promising to fight President Barack Obama’s executive order on immigration. The order protects millions of people who have been living in the United States illegally. The president’s announcement immediately angered Republicans in the U.S. Congress. More

  • A worker at state-owned Pertamina, the country's main retailer of subsidised fuel, fills a vehicle at a petrol station in Jakarta November 17, 2014. Indonesia's president raised the price of subsidised gasoline and diesel by more than 30 percent on Monday

    Audio Indonesians Protest Rising Fuel Prices

    Indonesian President Joko Widodo announced the government would cut the financial support on fuel. The move led to a 30 percent increase in fuel overnight. These rising prices have led some public transportation groups to go on strike. The government has had to prepare other forms of transportation. More

  • Rita Jeptoo of Kenya hoists the trophy after winning the women's division of the 118th Boston Marathon, April 21, 2014.

    Audio Kenyan Runners Accused of Using Banned Substances

    A new report says the use of performance-improving substances has become a serious issue in Kenya. Their use threatens the belief that Kenyan runners are among the fastest long-distance runners in the world because of their hard work and natural talent. | As It Is More

  • President Barack Obama announces executive actions on immigration during a nationally televised address from the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.

    Video Obama Orders Changes to US Immigration Policy

    Mr. Obama’s decision will affect the lives of five million people who have entered the United States without permission. He says the country’s immigration system has not been working for many years and needs immediate reform. | In the News More

  • U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrives at the Vienna International Airport for talks on Iran's disputed nuclear program, Nov. 20, 2014.

    Audio Kerry in Vienna for Iran Nuclear Talks

    The talks are taking place four days before a deadline to reach a new agreement on Iran's nuclear program. Also, North Korea has threatened to carry out another nuclear test in answer to U.N. action against it. A U.N. committee condemned North Korea for suspected human rights abuses. More

Featured Stories

  • Jonathan Evans Performs with Bonerama

    Video With Bonerama, Three Trombones Lead the Big Parade

    The New Orleans-based group brings together funk, rock, blues and jazz, creating a gumbo for the ears. Bonerama has horns like many bands. But, unlike most groups, the trombone players lead this band. Reporter Jonathan Evans performed with the band and wrote about it for American Mosaic. More

  • A line from Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is displayed at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC.

    Audio Lincoln's Words at Gettysburg Still Have Meaning

    On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln said no one would remember his speech at a battlefield cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. But Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address remains one of the most important speeches in U.S. history. More

  • PLASTIC DREAMS

    Audio Surgery Safaris: Looking for the Perfect Body

    Many people these days are going as far as South Africa to get their version of perfection. People from across Africa and the world come for so-called “surgery safaris.” There are no animals to see on these safaris. The visitors instead look for smaller stomachs, firmer bottoms or perhaps new eye. More

  • Video South Korea Attempting to Reuse More E-Waste

    South Korea is dealing with increasing amounts of waste from electronic devices. These useless or unwanted parts are often called “e-waste.” . The city of Seoul throws out about 10 tons of e-waste each year. Some local governments in South Korea are creating special "e-waste" recycling programs. More

  • FILE - Brittany Maynard, shown with her Great Dane puppy, Charlie, took a lethal dose of medication prescribed by a doctor in Oregon on Saturday. Maynard was battling brain cancer.

    Video Should You Have the Right to Die?

    The recent case of a 29 year old woman with brain cancer has again raised questions about the right to die. Americans are divided on whether doctors should be able to give deathly sick patients drugs to end their lives. Only four U.S states permit doctor, or physician, assisted suicide. More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs