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<-Back to WTN Archives New year means a new car in Tibet (Xinhua)
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World Tibet Network News

Published by the Canada Tibet Committee

Sunday, January 25, 2004



3. New year means a new car in Tibet (Xinhua)


(Xinhua is the official press agency of the Chinese government)

LHASA, Jan. 24 (Xinhuanet) -- The lunar new year in Tibet is traditionally a time of festivities and family reunions, but is also becoming the ideal season to buy a new car.

"A car is the top item on the buying list of my family for the Tibetan New Year," said Zhaxi Namgyai, a resident of Lhasa, capital of Tibet on Saturday.

After searching the Internet, he decided to buy a domestic brand for approximately 100,000 yuan (about 12,050 US dollars).

Zhaxi Namgyai is typical of many affluent families in Tibet, a vast region widely known as the roof of the world. They prefer buying cars in the lunar new year -- a costly purchase in a pastoral region with a net annual per capita income as low as 1,690 yuan (204 US dollars) in places -- for two reasons.

Firstly, the new year will see big discounts in promotional sales on the eve of the Tibetan New Year, which usually falls simultaneously with the traditionally Spring Festival, falling on Jan. 22 this year. Secondly, a car makes it easier to visit familyand friends during the joyous festival.

The Tibet-Tianxiang Automobile and Trade Co. announced reductions in the price of Gazelle model cars by 8,000 yuan (940 US dollars) this month. The price of Geely cars will drop by some 1,000 yuan (about 120 US dollars). However, some dealers said thatthey would prefer maintaining the original prices because of Tibet's limited market and tiny profits.

To provide clients with a still wider range of choices, the Kangda Automobile and Trade Co., the largest auto seller in Lhasa,is holding a sales exhibition in the square in front of the PotalaPalace. Visitors are invited to test drive cars.

The number of privately-owned cars in Lhasa has risen to about70,000. By the end of 2003, two out of every 100 families in urbanLhasa had bought their own cars. The annual sales of the TianxiangAutomobile and Trade Co. averaged 1,000 in the past two years.

Car buyers in Tibet can now find every popular models in the autonomous region ranging from cheaper models such as Alto, Geely and Palio Jetta to the expensive Guangzhou-Honda and Audi models.

The car purchase boom was attributed largely to double-digit economic growth in the past three years in Tibet and growing per capita income. Regional government figures show the annual per capita income was 8,052 yuan (970 US dollars) for urban Tibetans and 1,690 yuan for farmers and herdsmen in 2003. Enditem


Articles in this Issue:
  1. France fetes China with New Year parade amid human rights protests (AFP)
  2. US State Department official arrives at Dalai Lama's base (AFP)
  3. New year means a new car in Tibet (Xinhua)
  4. Tibet striving to attract back foreign tourists after SARS downturn last year (Xinhua)



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