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"The result is a fall in the number of bicycles sold from an annual peak of 40 million to between 20 and 25 million in recent years.
"Unsold bicycles are being dumped on the world markets at unrealistic prices as a result, says a report by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, contributing to the rapid decline of market share for European, American and other Asian manufacturers.
"The Chinese are well aware of the potential difficulties caused by the rush to the car, but see that as no reason to deprive themselves of a commodity that many millions are now able to afford for the first time.
One Beijing resident, Zhou Yanan, swapped his bicycle for a Volkswagen Jetta costing £12,500 when he left his job at a medical equipment company to set up his own firm.
"David Wilsher, president of the Association of Cycle Traders, said: "Anyone can now buy a Chinese bicycle for £40 even though it’s no good, which is why there are so many bicycles are sitting in people’s sheds not being used.
"There’s no money in the bicycle industry now anywhere. We make more money from repairing bicycles than selling them."