News / Asia

China Auto Racing Team Promotes Children's Charity

Sunny Wong in the PS Racing car, with ChildFund International decals behind, Sept. 15, 2013.
Sunny Wong in the PS Racing car, with ChildFund International decals behind, Sept. 15, 2013.
Marianne Brown
In China’s auto racing circuit, drivers can spend thousands of dollars for just one day of competition on the track. It is an unlikely place to find a children’s charity, but in the southern Chinese city of Zhuhai, one driver is making an effort to raise support for disadvantaged kids.
 
Driver and coach Pete Olson suggested the idea of advertising the ChildFund International logo on helmets and cars to the owners of his team, PS Racing, after supporting the charity in the United States.
 
The team donates money, and so far Olson has persuaded three so-called “gentlemen drivers,” for whom racing is just a hobby, to sponsor a child through ChildFund International.
 
“I just wrote them directly I said ‘hey, why don’t you guys sign up, come on, I know you guys spend thousands of dollars every time you smash your cars and laugh it off and stuff. I said it’s like 25 bucks a month, come on that’s nothing,” said Olson, describing his efforts to recruit other drivers.
 
The professional racing circuit in China has been slow to take off. The Chinese Grand Prix opened in 2004, but so far it has struggled to attract spectators, a problem critics blame on high ticket prices.
 
However, China is home to exponential growth in the automobile market, says Jim Moore, general manager of Quandarium, specialists in the automotive aftermarket.
 
Moore travels to China regularly to represent U.S. brands and says the Chinese market is changing rapidly.
 
“This is a culture that 15 years ago nobody dreamed of owning a car, and in that time period everybody has a car so it’s come that far that fast. Now that everyone has one they want it to be different from everybody else’s,” said Moore.
 
With accelerating private car ownership in China, auto industry sponsors are trying to promote their brands and products through the racing series. As the sport grows, Moore explains, it is still funded in part from second generation Chinese business people.
 
“Their parents built factories and sold products all over the world and made lots of money, and now their kids are off spending that money. Motorsports has become a pretty popular hobby for a select few of that group,” Moore said.
 
Olson admits that it is difficult to sell the idea of sponsoring a child to drivers from mainland China because, he says, the concept of donating money to charity is still very new.
 
Sunny Wong says he thinks promoting the cause through racing will attract more attention from wealthy businessmen like himself. He works in real estate in Hong Kong and started racing four years ago. He is part of the team that now sponsors a child through ChildFund International.
 
“I think it’s always good to have good exposure [to] such an audience, and… racing is a different audience for normal organizations like ChildFund International… I think it’s a new niche that they are being exposed to,” said Wong.
 
The positive exposure that ChildFund International receives through the team is reciprocal. Olson says he thinks PS Racing has received more coverage on national television and newspapers because of the connection to the charity.
 
 “They will post more pictures of my car and in all the media they mention ChildFund International car. The promoter thinks it looks nice for the series… it adds more of an angle to the racing,” said Olson.
 
Race car drivers Sunny Wong and Pete Olson promote the charity the Child Fund in Zhuhai, China, Sept. 15, 2013. (Marianne Brown for VOA)Race car drivers Sunny Wong and Pete Olson promote the charity the Child Fund in Zhuhai, China, Sept. 15, 2013. (Marianne Brown for VOA)
x
Race car drivers Sunny Wong and Pete Olson promote the charity the Child Fund in Zhuhai, China, Sept. 15, 2013. (Marianne Brown for VOA)
Race car drivers Sunny Wong and Pete Olson promote the charity the Child Fund in Zhuhai, China, Sept. 15, 2013. (Marianne Brown for VOA)
Olson says he was drawn to ChildFund International because his mother could not afford to raise him and gave him up for adoption when he was a child.
 
“I got adopted by a Harvard lawyer so I lucked out. So there are many, many times in my life that I thought I’m very lucky to have had my education, private schools and everything and the racing, especially when I was just getting started,” said Olson.
 
He says if he had not been adopted he would not be living the life he is now. He says he wants to encourage privileged people like himself to give something back.

You May Like

Ukraine Purges Interior Ministry Leadership With Pro-Russian Ties

Interior Minister Avakov says 91 people 'in positions of leadership' have been fired, including 8 generals found to have links to past pro-Moscow governments More

US Airlines Point to Additional Problems of any Ebola Travel Ban

Airline officials note that even under travel ban, they may not be able to determine where passenger set out from, as there are no direct flights from Liberia, Guinea or Sierra Leone More

Nigerian President to Seek Another Term

Goodluck Jonathan has faced intense criticism for failing to stop Boko Haram militants More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid