China's billionaires are shopping for a new toy, a luxury private jet. And many are shopping for a private plane at the biggest aviation show in Asia, the Shanghai ABACE 2013. Li Dong has the details.
Organizers of the 2013 Asian Business Aviation Conference and Exhibition, or ABACE, in Shanghai hope to impress China billionaires and give the world's giant aircraft manufacturers a chance to show off their corporate jets to China's new rich.
Airbus ACJ 318, it has capability to hold 19 people, is capable of flying overseas, and has a private office, and when working is too taxing, then the office converts to a bedroom.
David Velupillai, Airbus Marketing Director says the main market for Airbus is civil engineering, and this means that the company can build large cabins that convert successfully to business jets.
"In China, which is the world's fastest growing business jet market, we have something like approaching 20 aircraft - like this - flying within China, and the Chinese customers love the widest and the tallest cabin of any business jet."
William's millionaire father is planning to buy this aircraft. William was born in Taiwan but raised in mainland China. Hedeclines to give his family name or business.
"Chinese businessmen have an entourage of managers and special assistants, so that's why in the end we were sitting over[?with?] 10 people in small business jets. Flying every time is worse than the economy, so in the end we came onboard. We had a great chance to board an Airbus corporate jet to see inside, and we were just amazed of how the space is. So there was no question we have to get an airbus for corporate use."
Boeing's BBJ -737-700 jet has a room with a shower.
Airbus's biggest competitor, Boeing says that Asia represents 17 percent of business, just behind Europe, which is 20 percent, while the United States represents 27 percent.
But China's market is growing and expected to be the world's biggest importer of planes by 2018.
Steve Taylor is president of Boeing Business Aviation.
"The other airliner base products don't offer the range capability that this airplane does, and it doesn't have the lower cabin altitude that this airplane does. One of the special modifications that we make is we increase the cabin pressure which makes the airplane much more comfortable on long-range flights."
But one issue that could curb the number of planes in the sky is infrastructure and flight paths.
A newly announced symposium is being held to discuss international policies affecting operations in the region. China's central government has outlined plans to promote the development of the general aviation industry and changes in air space management.
Lu Renli, Director of Department of General Aviation at the Civil Aviation Management Institute of China, says the country's aviation infrastructure must be changed.
"I think both business aviation and infrastructure play the role of obstacles now. First, business aviation in China has not fully developed the time machine. And if we have more airports we can fly there directly rather than having to transfer. And infrastructure now is not well developed either, which will affect the development of business aviation."
Despite the boom in demand for planes in China, the aviation industry here has been stalled due to the global economic crisis. Airplane manufacturers are now looking to China and Asia to see their businesses take off.
For CRI, I am Li Dong.