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China Diary - April 25 - 2010 Beijing International Automotive Expo

Sunday, April 25

The advice about getting to the auto show early was very good. In the end I didn’t leave my hotel until about 8:10 AM. Actually got to the exhibition hall about 9:20 AM and was caught up in multitudes of people. Also, as the day went one, the show got more and more crowed and it was tough even walking in the aisles without getting jostled.

There is way too much to write. Here are a few bullet points with my impressions from the 2010 Beijing International Auto Exhibition:

• Well organized bus service from remote location – even with at least 500 people, maybe closer to 1000, in line before me
• Bottleneck at the door of the show, caused by going through security and metal detectors
• Large Square footage of displays
• Lots of Energy and excitement – even on the bus on the way to the show
• Family outing at 100 RMB per person – mainly young people. People obviously have dreams
• So many people in ultra luxury exhibition hall – can’t tell if that is because it was a smaller hall, later in the day or incredible interest in these vehicles
• I had difficulty seeing cars because it was so crowded
• Chery and Better Place partnership– Better Place Director of Marketing was interviewed by TV crews together with the CEO of Chery. Better Place is the brain child of Shai Aggassi of Israel. It is an electric vehicle infrastructure total solution
• There was a tremendous focus on GREEN vehicles
• Security at trade show – lots of uniformed security guards
• Multitude of brands
• Crowds, crowds and more crowds
• Pushing
• Lucky to find “Subway” sandwiches – otherwise I would not have known what to eat for lunch. That was a problem since I had not brought any food with me

I accidently ran into Mr. Wang from China Automotive Dealer Association as I was leaving the show. He actually saw me and called out to me. I met him at the GAS Conference. We sat at the same table at lunch one day and he attended my session. His English is extremely limited, but he offered to help me find taxi so I could go directly back to my hotel, rather than taking the bus to the remote location and then trying to get a cab. He was very, very kind. He really went out of his way for me. I kept thanking him and he said “don’t say thank you – we are friends” –I am not sure how many people in the US would have helped a foreigner the way he helped me.

Attending the auto show was an exciting experience. I was there for about three hours. I think I covered all the show rooms. I was very shocked at the number of luxury brands and the number of people in those exhibition halls. The only car I didn’t see was the Bugatti, which folks made a big deal about on the bus. I took loads of photos, actually more of logos and brands than vehicles, and will post them when after I go through them.

I was so exhausted when I got back I had to take a nap. I wanted to take a walk and get a foot massage after waking up, but it had started to rain. Hopefully no rain tomorrow

Only a few more days to go in China! I am counting the days, though in spite of some of the challenges, it has been a rewarding trip. I am not sure I can ever translate any of this into an economically viable experience, but my life is certainly much richer for having done this.

I have three more meetings before my 6 pm flight Tuesday. Can you tell that I am really ready to go home after 6 weeks on the road?

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