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

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations 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.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs