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Sky's the limit for owners of private jets

(China Daily)

13:29, September 26, 2011

Guan Hongsheng (left), a tycoon in Wenzhou, set up Wenzhou Lucheng Hailukong Club in 2008 in the city to "introduce a healthy and challenging lifestyle" to his business friends. (Photo/provided to China Daily)

Entrepreneurs who made their fortune by producing ordinary items for everyday life are becoming more flamboyant in how they spend their wealth.

Swish clothes, flashy houses and luxury cars are not enough, it seems, and the rich are now snapping up yachts, racing motorcycles and helicopters.

"We need the thrill to take our minds off the tedious routine of business life," said Guan Hongsheng, 44, founder of a company that makes clothes, hats, shoes and construction supplies for export to the US and Europe.

Like many other tycoons in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, Guan has a keen nose for a business opportunity. Along with his colleagues, Guan set up the Wenzhou Lucheng Hailukong Club in 2008 to "introduce a healthy and challenging lifestyle" to the rich elite of their hometown. The club is dedicated to racing motorcycles, boating and flying helicopters.

Guan owns, among other luxuries, a BMW motorcycle, three helicopters valued at over 5 million yuan ($780,000) and three yachts. His exploits made headlines in the province this year when he and a friend, a club member, were caught flying two Rotorway Exec 162F helicopters for 20 minutes without official approval, something the moneyed class calls black flying. Both were fined 20,000 yuan.

"It was just for fun," Guan said. "Nobody got hurt."

To be cleared to fly, aircraft must be registered with the local office of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, which checks that the model is approved for Chinese airspace. Pilots also have to submit flight plans for every journey, including the time and route.

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