Harley-Davidson In China?

By Agence France-Presse The world's most famous motorcycle brand may soon be roaring down the roads of the world's most populous country with Harley-Davidson Inc. teaming up with a Chinese bike maker to explore market opportunities. The U.S.-based company said June 9 it had signed a memorandum of understanding with Zongshen Motorcycle Group, providing a framework for a potential relationship. "Harley-Davidson's primary objective is to export our American-made motorcycles to China and to develop political and motorcycle industry alliances in anticipation of the market becoming more accessible," says CEO Jeffrey Bleustein. "We do not believe it will be necessary for Harley-Davidson to manufacture its motorcycles in China in order to be able to sell them there." Under the contemplated relationship, Harley-Davidson would work with Zongshen to gain a better understanding of the business practices, markets and distribution channels it will encounter in China, the statement said. "Harley-Davidson's status as an American-made motorcycle has a strong appeal here and we believe an association with Harley-Davidson holds solid value for us in China," said Zongshen Motorcycle Group Chairman Zuo Zongshen. Official and unofficial trade barriers currently limit Harley-Davidson's ability to sell its premium motorcycles in China. Those barriers include a 50% import duty on motorcycles, which is scheduled to drop to 30% by January 2005. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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