Chi­nese stu­dents big car shop­pers

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By CHEN JIA in San Fran­cisco chen­jia@chi­na­di­a­lyusa.com

In­creas­ing num­bers of Chi­nese stu­dents are in the mar­ket for sec­ond-hand lux­ury cars in US as the num­ber of stu­dents from China en­rolled in US col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties reached 235,597 dur­ing the past aca­demic year.

Wang Momo, a Chi­nese stu­dent at the Cal­i­for­nia In­sti­tute of the Arts, just bought a pre­owned BMW to cel­e­brate her birth­day dur­ing the Christ­mas hol­i­days and posted many pic­tures of the car on her Chi­nese blog.

“The price of sec­ond-hand cars in the United States is so sweet!” the 28-year-old said on her Sina Weibo page. “This car was as cheap as a Ch­ery QQ in China.”

An in­ex­pen­sive pro­duc­tion car in China, the Ch­ery QQ is one of the most af­ford­able and pop­u­lar choices for mid­dle class fam­i­lies.

“If you shop for a car on Craigslist rather than lay­ing down money for a dealer, it can even be cheaper,” she said.

Her post was promptly retweeted by around 30,000 Chi­nese ne­ti­zens overnight, many of them Chi­nese stu­dents in the US. Al­most 10,000 of them wrote com­ments and nearly 7,000 gave a thumbs-up.

Some stu­dents said they retweeted the post be­cause some US me­dia’s re­ports say­ing Chi­nese stu­dents ma­jored in lux­ury cars with hefty sums of cash made them un­com­fort­able.

“Only a few Chi­nese stu­dents might use cash to pay for cars, and the so-called pay­ing cash for a car (with­out fi­nanc­ing) usu­ally means a bank check,” a Chi­nese ne­ti­zen called Ri­hango said on his Weibo page. “Chi­nese stu­dents in the United States are not Bev­erly Hill­bil­lies!”

“In most of the pay­ing cash cases, the buy­ers are just un­able to ap­ply for a car loan be­cause their stay in the US is too short to ac­cu­mu­late enough of a credit record,” he said.

Ac­cord­ing to Bloomberg News, Chi­nese stu­dents in the US are of­ten from fam­i­lies that are bet­ter off than the typ­i­cal Amer­i­can col­lege stu­dent’s fam­ily.

Pay­ing $50,000 for a high­end car is viewed by them as an af­ford­able sta­tus sym­bol be­cause they know such cars can cost two- to three-times as much in China due to hefty im­port du­ties, the re­port said.

Zinch, a con­sult­ing firm, found that $15.5 bil­lion had been spent on pur­chas­ing new and sec­ond-hand ve­hi­cles by Chi­nese stu­dents in the United States in 2012 and 2013 through Oc­to­ber. Dur­ing the same pe­riod, their US coun­ter­parts spent $4.7 bil­lion on ve­hi­cles.

Dur­ing the 22-month sur­vey, CNW said more than 50 per­cent of ve­hi­cles bought by Chi­nese stu­dents in the US were new, and 32 per­cent of them were paid for in cash, it re­ported. The av­er­age pur­chase was $52,796. For used cars, Chi­nese stu­dents av­er­aged a $36,500 pur­chase price.

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