As many American business owners settle into a period of post-crisis austerity, China’s new cash-rich entrepreneurs are living the life. One indicator: Private jet sales in China are soaring, with at least one recently bought aircraft featuring onboard karaoke, the Associated Press reported this week.
A rock-star status symbol, as many as 90 private jets were registered in China at the end of April, up from essentially none a decade ago, the report finds. At least 10 jets, worth a combined $500 million, were delivered since January alone, the report says. Indeed, over the past decade five major airplane manufacturers have built, are building or are planning production facilities in China, according to the National Business Aviation Association, a beltway-based trade group.
“Recent relaxation of airspace restrictions by the Chinese government and the booming economy are having a decidedly positive effect on general aviation, particularly business aviation in China,” Jason Liao, the trade group’s chief representative in Asia, said in a recent statement. One recent Airbus design for the Chinese market offers a red interior, and features karaoke equipment and round family-dining tables that convert into square mahjong tables. The aviation boom is having a spill-over effect for smaller U.S. manufacturers.