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

    Republicans Struggle With Reality of Trump Nomination

    Despite calls for unity by presumptive presidential nominee, analysts see inevitable fragmentation of party ahead of November election and beyond

    Spanish Warrants Point to Russian Govt. Links to Organized Crime

    Links to several Russians, some of them reputedly close Putin associates, backed by ‘very strong evidence,’ Spanish judge says

    Video US Worried Political Chaos in Iraq Will Hurt IS Fight

    Iraq needs stable, central government to push back against Islamic State, US says, but others warn that Baghdad may not have unified front any time soon

    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.
    Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limitedi
    X
    Katie Arnold
    May 04, 2016 12:31 PM
    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Press Freedom in Myanmar Fragile, Limited

    As Myanmar begins a new era with a democratically elected government, many issues of the past confront the new leadership. Among them is press freedom in a country where journalists have been routinely harassed or jailed.
    Video

    Video Taliban Threats Force Messi Fan to Leave Afghanistan

    A young Afghan boy, who recently received autographed shirts and a football from his soccer hero Lionel Messi, has fled his country due to safety concerns. He and his family are now taking refuge in neighboring Pakistan. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from Islamabad.
    Video

    Video Major Rubbish Burning Experiment Captures Destructive Greenhouse Gases

    The world’s first test to capture environmentally harmful carbon dioxide gases from the fumes of burning rubbish took place recently in Oslo, Norway. The successful experiment at the city's main incinerator plant, showcased a method for capturing most of the carbon dioxide. VOA’s Deborah Block has more.
    Video

    Video EU Visa Block Threatens To Derail EU-Turkey Migrant Deal

    Turkish citizens could soon benefit from visa-free travel to Europe as part of the recent deal between the EU and Ankara to stem the flow of refugees. In return, Turkey has pledged to keep the migrants on Turkish soil and crack down on those who are smuggling them. Brussels is set to publish its latest progress report Wednesday — but as Henry Ridgwell reports from London, many EU lawmakers are threatening to veto the deal over human rights concerns.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora