Sunday, October 13



The Chinese motorcycle industry has come a long way in a very short time and reaches another milestone with the opening of the 12th International China International Motorcycle Trade Exhibition (CIMAMotor) in Chongqing on October 17-20.

Chinese motorcycle production started in the 1950s the Peoples Liberation Army Beijing No.6 Automotive Workshop working on a copy of the German Zundapp KS500 side-valve military sidecars.  These machines were also made by the state-owned Hongdu Machinery-building Factory and the Xingjiang Machine Plant.

Later in the 1950s the Hongdu Machinery-building Factory began production of a Chinese version of the BMW R71 sidecars, initially supplied by the USSR.  The Hongdu Machinery-building Factory then changed its name to Nanchang Aircraft Manufacturing Corporation and continued building the sidecars.

Around 1985, the original R71 side-valve engine was retired and an OHV 750cc engine was put into production to power the sidecars for the PLA.

Around 1960 Shanghai Xingfu Motorcycle Co., Ltd.  started production of the first Chinese civilian motorcycles, a 250cc single cylinder air-cooled two-stroke design known as the Xingfu.

In 1984 the CG series engines from Honda were introduced, single cylinder OHV push-rod engines of 125cc.  These were made by a number of companies and  today there are more than 200 manufacturers in China.

Following the Opening Up and Reform policy carried out at the end of the 1970s, China’s motorcycle industry took off, first with State-owned enterprises (like Jialing) and then later private enterprises (like Zhongshen and Lifan) blossomed.  This saw total motorcycle production grow from 49,000 in 1980 to 10 million in 1997 and this continued upwards, to 21 million units in 2006 and an astounding 27 million in 2008 and 2011.

For several year Chinese motorcycle production has accounted for more than half the global total.  Today there are more than 200 manufacturers in China, but only a small proportion of total Chinese motorcycle production is for export.

CIMAMotor 2013 will see manufacturers representing in excess of 12 million units of annual production with displays and it is expected that in excess of 800 media people, including most of the Chinese motorcycle industrial media and main financial media, will be in attendance, along with more than 80,000 buyers and visitors.

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Meantime, China also has a burgeoning motorcycle parts industry.  For more on this, click here