Blog: Simon WarburtonColossal China powers on

Simon Warburton | 8 June 2016

I'm starting to get a small idea of the scale of things here in China, but really, I'm only scratching the surface of this vast country.

The Global Automotive Forum (GAF) in the mega-city of Chongqing in central China, has been throwing out huge numbers like confetti, all of them more or less increasing, despite the ubiquitous caveat of 'New Normal,' which seems to be a compulsory prefix to any sentence.

For size, just take from where I'm writing this. Right opposite me is the mighty Yangtze River, ringed by colossal mountains, although I can hardly make them out for the haze, while behind me is the gargantuan Yuelai International Convention Centre.

That centre is a building of staggering proportions and I walked round it this morning, vast halls of gargantuan size housing the 2016 China Chongqing International Auto Industry Fair.

I've been to a few motor shows, but for sheer volume, nothing comes close to the ear-splitting cacophony, which booms from every stand. Not only is there heavy music pumping out from each automaker or service provider, but each company tries to outdo each other by employing someone to use a microphone to shout out what are presumably the attributes of each brand.

The result is a collective noise the like of which I've never heard, but the thousands pouring through the doors were clearly enjoying the show, which this year is seeing 100 car companies exhibit more than 1,000 models.

Borgward, Lotus and Tesla are making their Chongqing bows, while a dedicated area is also displaying 30 new energy vehicles, whose increasing influence was such a talking point at this week's Global Automotive Forum in the same city.

Although I'm starting to get an idea of the place here, what I'm not getting the hang of is how to use chopsticks, which continue to baffle me as I chase food around the plate.

Eventually, the Chinese take pity and offer some Western cutlery, but I'm going to persevere when I get the chance. But how do you eat rice with chopsticks?

That's a challenge I want to crack.


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