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Rich businessmen in China's coastal province hooked on private jets
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08:01, July 30, 2007

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Having been high-flyers in business, magnates in east China's Zhejiang Province are taking the tag literally, with more of them interested in private planes.

Hangzhou, capital of Zhejiang, has just witnessed the opening of the country's first 4S shop for private jets and helicopters.

The most expensive helicopter is worth about 1.2 million yuan (158,000 U.S. dollars), around the same as a BMW 735Li, according to a report by the China News Service on Sunday.

A good few people had shown interest and the shop was hopeful to get orders for more than 20 private planes, said the report.

Currently, the 4S shop's helicopters were all assembled by Xijie Aeroplane Manufacturing Company, a private factory based in Xi'an, capital of northwest China's Shaanxi Province, with some spare parts coming from France.

"The market for private aircraft is always developed first in economically booming areas. Zhejiang has the most energetic private economy in China, therefore we select it as our first target," said Jin Qiansheng, director of the National Aviation Hi-tech Industrial Base in Xi'an.

Rich businessmen in Zhejing began to purchase private aircraft years ago. The first private jet owner in Zhejiang was Qiu Deyuan, board chairman of Zhejiang Daoyuan Group. His 65-million-yuan Premier I could bear two pilots and six passengers.

In 2005, more than 20 private entrepreneurs from Zhejiang's Wenzhou City joined China's first private flight club, which opened only for private jet owners.

But insiders revealed that the private jet market in Zhejiang was still chaotic, with no formal airports offering their services and only trial flights being operated.

At present, China has no rules or regulations on flights of private aircraft.

Wang Bin, who earned his fortunes by making photo frames in Yiwu City, Zhejiang, was now trying to sell his private plane, which he bought from France at the cost of millions of yuan last December.

"Restrictions on flights by small planes and social pressure are the major causes forcing me to give up my plane," Wang was quoted as saying.

In the past six months, his plane flew for only 36 hours between Yiwu and Dongyang.

They will have to wait for the government to develop relevant rules and regulations to help their private jets bring real convenience for them, insiders say.

Source: Xinhua

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