Expat entrepreneur in China markets eco friendly trikes

Published:  30 May at 6 PM
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Tagged: Visas, USA, China, Euro
A British expat entrepreneur living in Shanghai has cornered the market for environmentally friendly tricycles, but most are being exported to the West.

British entrepreneur Chris Trees came to China nine years ago, having working in Paris for international advertising giant JCDecaux for almost 10 years before being sent to Shanghai as the company’s technical director. By the end of 2007, he’d left his former employer to set up his own business marketing advertising equipment.

Along the way he developed a passion for an environmentally-friendly tricycle similar to the ones in use outside China’s major, westernised cities. He and his wife founded MGT Engineering, (Metropolitan Green Technologies) and began producing the trikes. Over the years, the designs have changed, becoming stylish, cool and incorporating traditional bamboo seating and frames.

Sadly, Shanghai itself is off-limits for the traditionally-inspired trikes, as the local government no longer issues permits for three-wheeled vehicles, considering they’re not appropriate for 21st century transport needs. As a result, Chris is now demonstrating his skills in developing an overseas market for his vehicles, using a local contract manufacturer and concentrating on the US market.As a result, his 2016 order book is growing fast, with a deal expanding the market in the USA being discussed with America’s Mainstream Pedicabs company.

Chris also believes there’s a place for his trikes in the northern European market, but still has hopes his dream will be realised in China itself. He’s banking on the younger, university-educated generation of Chinese being aware that sustainable development is the way forward.

In the meantime, his product has received good press coverage in Shanghai as well as interest from local organisations such as the Good Earth Project, now teamed with MGT to promote sustainability. At present, the trikes are sold straight from the factory at between $3,000 and $6,500, dependent on the model.
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