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China Daily Website  

A journey to the West

Updated: 2014-08-29 14:17
By Rogier Bikker (Shanghai Star)

A journey to the West

Chinese turn out for distant World Cup

A journey to the West


Local flavors, local friends 

All these Chinese brands, unknown to many foreigners, support our project, which we are calling ‘Brand New China’. By travelling with only Chinese brands, I aim to share the fact that China is no longer just a copycat country or the factory of the world. I have seen the country change dramatically since my first visit 12 years ago.

I was lucky to work with some incredibly ambitious Chinese people, and along the way came to know the highly driven and innovative side of China. Frustrated by the negative perception of China around the world, I figured it was time for somebody to stand up and say, “China is cool!” That I proclaim this as a non-Chinese might be a bit ironic.

But I believe it touches on the identity struggle that China is going through at the moment. The young generation is extremely proud of China, but also very aware of its fl aws, and not confi dent in the country because of that.

When I talk about Brand New China with my Chinese friends, they feel patriotic and proud. But they still advise me to just drive with a Volkswagen. It's this endless identity struggle that is so exemplary for the young generation in China.

I also experienced this when trying to get Chinese brands on board for the journey. I simply wrote emails to every car manufacturer in China asking to provide me a car. All of those who responded were extremely enthusiastic.

But they just weren't confident their car could make it to the other side of the world, except BYD, which fi ttingly stands for ‘Build Your Dreams’.

When I met the Shenzhen-based battery manufacturer- turned-car brand, they told me "Let’s build this dream!" That was six months ago. A week ago they delivered a ‘brand new’car to Shanghai for Maren and me to pick-up. All that’s left is to pack up our stu> , leave our daily life behind, and drive back home. Luckily, we'll be taking a bit of China along with us.


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