While the number of motorcycles per 100 households in China has increased significantly since the 1990s, motorcycle sales in China saw a steep decline after the recession and a further decrease after stricter 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 However, with improved living standards in rural areas, motorcycles have been replaced by small cars and more affordable e-bikes.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 reduce air pollution in cities, motorcycles are banned in most urban areas in China, further hindering the development of the motorcycle market in China, though such policies have seen swings in relation to stagnating market development of vehicles.
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 towards international markets. Manufacturers have entered both the markets of developing countries as well as developed nations. Subsequently, the export value of parts and accessories of motorcycles and bicycles from China increased after 2011, reaching approximately 8.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2020.
Located in Chongqing, Loncin is one of the leading Chinese motorcycle manufacturers. 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 Agusta in 2011, which allowed Lifan to sell motorcycles in a wider range of segmentation.