You may argue about the fact that we already or will soon belong to China. Not only the US but Europe and more. While they lend us money to shrink our deficits, succeed at selling us their own products and knock-offs of ours, American companies, including Harley-Davidson, still try to get a small share of the huge Chinese market. But the world’s most populous nation knows how to put barriers to prevent us from selling to them while they are almost free to sell anything they want to us. Harley-Davidson is actively lobbying the Chinese and American governments to ease those “barrier laws” in an effort to increase sales in China. But what I learned is that this country has its own very unusual motorcycling regulations affecting their own citizens.
1- More than 100 cities in China, including Beijing and Shanghai, have restrictions that include banning two-wheel vehicles from elevated highways and major thoroughfares to curb noise and theft, with these regulations being different for one province to the other. Beijing has not allowed new registrations since 1985. Guangzhou banned motorcycles in 2007 after a surge in drive-by purse snatching. 2- Motorcycles and scooters have to be scrapped after 11 years (!) 3- There is a 30% added dues and tax on all imported scooters and motorcycles (!) International sales represented 35 percent of Harley-Davidson revenue last year, but the company sold only 268 motorcycles in China, less than what most Harley Dealers each sell.
It will take much more effort in lobbying and more innovative ways than organizing HOG chapters for Harley to enter the Chinese market. Harley continues to look for opportunities to gain market share abroad. No wonder the company is primarily focusing on India, not China.