While the number of motorcycles per 100 households in China had increased from 6.29 units in 1995 to 20.9 units in 2017, motorcycle sales in China saw a steep decline after the recession and a further decrease after more strict emission standards had been implemented in 2011. Motorcycles, especially tricycles are seen as multi-purpose vehicles in China. In addition to passenger transportation, they are also used for cargo transport, as they provide more flexibility in difficult road or traffic conditions than cars, especially in China’s rural areas. However, with improved living standards in rural areas, motorcycles have been replaced by small cars and more affordable e-bikes. Within the two-wheeled motorcycle segment, the market share of scooters has continued to grow, as motorcycles are increasingly used for leisure purposes. In order to promote security and lessen pollution in cities, motorcycles are banned in most urban areas in China, a fact that further hinders the development of the motorcycle market in China.
China has more than 200 domestic motorcycle manufacturers. Since the implementation of higher emission standards and a recession of local low-end motorcycle demand, Chinese motorcycle manufactures have begun to shift their focus more towards international markets and entered the markets in developing countries as well as developed nations. Subsequently, the export value of Chinese automobile parts and motorcycles has increased after 2011.
Located in Chongqing, Loncin is one of the leading Chinese motorcycle manufacturers and sold about 370 thousand motorcycles both domestically and internationally between January and April 2017. In spite of producing its own motorcycles, Loncin is also an OEM for some of BMW’s engines. Another prominent Chinese motorcycle manufacturer from Chongqing is Lifan. The manufacturer was the first Chinese brand to be sold in Japan and started a strategic partnership with MV Augusta in 2011, which seems to be a move to allow Lifan to improve QC issues and start producing larger displacement motorcycle engines.