"The spirit Harley-Davidson signifies is the pursuit of freedom, the enjoyment of life. This is not just something special for the American people," said Hollis Zhao, general manager of the Beijing dealership. "Harley-Davidson has succeeded for 100 years. We hope China will continue that trend for another 100 years."
Entry to the Chinese market has long been a goal of the Milwaukee-based company, given the country's booming economy and its citizens' growing spending power. In 2001, after China joined the World Trade Organization, import restrictions, quotas and tariffs also dropped substantially for foreign motorcycle manufacturers.
"You don't get the same feeling when you're driving. You can't feel the wind, you can't feel the vibrations, you don't get the feeling that you're flying," said Bai, a 28-year-old graphic designer who hopes to trade in his Honda Shadow motorcycle for his first Harley by the end of the year
Hong Kong Harley enthusiasts ride their motorcycles in Hong Kong. For years, Harley-Davidson Inc. has been trying to navigate a maze of regulations to sell its motorcycles in China, to no avail. Riders in its Hong Kong chapter have had to register with authorities and have police escorts as they tour the Chinese countryside