November 29, 2014 09:37 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

  • Ferguson Protest

    Video After Protests, Ferguson Looks for Answers

    On Monday, protesters burned buildings and police cars and destroyed businesses in the Midwestern U.S. city of Ferguson, Missouri. Their actions followed the announcement that a grand jury had decided not to send a white police officer to trial for shooting and killing an unarmed black teen. More

  • Video US Evangelicals Debate Homosexuality in the Bible

    An increasing number of mainline Christian groups are also accepting same-sex unions. But most evangelical Christians say the Bible condemns sexual relations among people of the same sex. Now, a well-known student of evangelicalism is saying that the traditional reading of the Bible is wrong. More

  • An oil derrick is seen at a fracking site for extracting oil outside of Williston, North Dakota March 11, 2013.  North Dakota's booming oil business has quickly ran up against a serious shortage of housing for the thousands of workers who have poured into

    Audio Falling Oil Prices Affect Nations Differently

    Oil prices have dropped 30 percent since June. Increased American oil production is one reason for the drop in world oil prices. Nigeria has announced measures the government would take to increase income. But, in India the lower oil prices have helped ease inflation. More

  • Audio North Korea Warns of Punishment for US, Allies

    North Korea said it would punish countries that supported a UN resolution condemning North Korea's human rights record. The recent U.N. committee vote called on the Security Council to send North Korea to the International Criminal Court for suspected violations, including torture and murder. More

  • A Libyan military soldier fires his weapon during clashes with Islamic extremist militias in Benghazi, Libya, Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014. Government troops entered central Benghazi Wednesday after nearly 10 days of fighting Islamic extremist militias, a mili

    Audio Unrest, Abuse Prevent Solution in Libya

    Amnesty International is condemning all sides in Libya for human rights abuses and violations of international law. The rights group is calling on militia commanders to end the abuses. But that call is unlikely to have much of an effect on the commanders, who have never been punished. More

Featured Stories

  • Hunger Games: Mockingjay

    Video 'Hunger Games' Expected to Top Holiday Ticket Sales

    'Mockingjay - Part 1' is the third in the four part movie series. It earned about $123 million in its opening weekend. Not bad, but millions less than tickets sales in the release weekend of the first two 'Hunger Games' films. What explains the drop in audience interest? More

  • Battle of Cold Harbor

    Audio Strong Defense at Cold Harbor Gives Lee His Last Major Victory

    After Northern forces defeated Southern troops at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and Vicksburg, Mississippi, General Ulysses Grant decided to hit the Confederates with the full force of the Union armies. The fight did not go as he expected. But General Grant was resolved to defeat the Confederates. More

  • Alzheimer brain

    Audio East Meets West to Treat Alzheimer's Patients

    But researchers in California say a new way of treating Alzheimer’s disease is showing promise for reversing some of that memory loss. The new treatment combines western medicine with eastern philosophy – ideas rooted in Asian religions. More

  • Mr. Van Rijsselberghe worked on the project with scientists from the Free University of Amsterdam.

    Video Dutch Experiment Grows Vegetables in Sea Water

    Due to rising sea level, farmers are increasingly unable to use fields close to the sea. A farmer in the Netherlands is growing small, but healthy and tasty crops in a mixture of fresh and salt water. Farmers in Pakistan may soon be growing Dutch potatoes in areas affected by rising sea waters. More

  • 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

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs