Despite being the world’s largest, the Chinese car market is largely a mystery in other parts of the world. Chinese automakers have yet to appreciate the necessity of casting a global image. Large international OEMs like to talk about Chinese sales numbers, and not much else. Leave it to a handful of English language car blogs to keep us informed of what is going on behind the Chinese wall. One of them, Carnewschina.com, even treats the symptoms of yellow fever.
Carnewschina is owned and operated by Tycho de Feijter. The red-haired Dutchman came to Beijing University in 2001 to deliver his thesis on China and the WTO. “At that time, there were barely any cars,” remembers de Feijter. There were only three ring roads (now there are six,) and outside the city, “there were only trucks on the road, and they were all blue,” de Feijter recalls the long bygone days before the Great Chinese Car Flood..
Carnewschina was started in 2009. “At that time, there barely were any car websites in China, now there are billions,” de Feijter said. Carnewschina was his first and only website. De Feijter has many Chinese cars – he is a collector of Chinese tin toys. He is also a specialist on vintage Chinese cars.
As a Dutchman in Beijing, Tycho rides his bicycle, which allows him to brave traffic much faster than the mess of cars. In 2010, Tycho married Chihongyu, and they promptly produced a son named Auke. According to a not so ancient Chinese custom, the groom must buy a house and a car for the wedding. Tycho also owns a 1998 Beijing Jeep, and he could get by with only buying the house. Auke’s hair color is a compromise between the black Chinese and the red Dutch. “It’s some kind of a brown,” Tycho says.
Carnewschina covers the burgeoning Chinese car culture with a mix of spy shots, news from the wild tuning scene, and blinged-out supercars. Tycho’s readers keep him supplied with pictures of pink Ferraris. And for those suffering from yellow fever, Tycho has a special pictorial section titled “China Car Girls.”