Bicycle crazy China is now electric bicycle crazy. Electric bikes were everywhere, and outnumbered normal bikes on the road. You could even buy them in the department stores. Basic models sell for about 1200 Yuan (about US$150), and more elaborate scooter-like models for up to 5000 Yuan.

Bicycles are a common enough sight on China’s roads, with one bike for every two urban residents, on average. But now the big demand is for power bikes in Kunming – desired for their economy where it comes to operation and maintenance, as well as relative convenience. They are indeed much cheaper than other forms of powered transport and the lead-acid batteries they use are low-noise, pollution-free and relatively safe.



Electric bikes first entered the Kunming market in 1999, with Zhongfei, Daluge and Beite being the only three brands available. Their design was modest and their price was over Rmb2,500 (HK$2,358). But as better products appeared, so more people have come to accept these souped up bikes.



Today, over 40 brands are approved for licensed registration. They include established brands like Daluge from Nanjing, Aupa from Wuxi and Qianhe from Shanghai. There are also new brands such as Beite, produced by a Sino-US joint venture in Chengdu, Haoshun and Fulu from Wuxi, Yiluba from Hangzhou and Small Antelope from Suzhou.



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Pictures here.