THE CAR – A SYMBOL OF SUCCESS
The dynamic interplay of technology, design and driving pleasure strikes a chord with China’s young elite. “I keep seeing the R8 in more and more garages in my neighborhood in Beijing,” recounts the star pianist. Status symbols of a new era. When Lang Lang was a child, China was still a country of cyclists: “In the 1980s, owning a car was an unattainable dream for most people. Which is why the Chinese love their cars today: Having your own car is a sign that you’ve made it.”
Like a good musician, the Audi super sports car never stops evolving. At the Paris Motor Show in fall 2010, Audi showcased the “e-tron Spyder” study – a vision of future mobility. In this open sports car, the front axle is powered by two electric motors, the rear axle by a V6 TDI engine – a hybrid drive with enormous potential for the future. Lang Lang’s mind is firmly made up: “Efficient cars are the future – China’s main cities are so densely populated that they automatically lend themselves to testing new transport and infrastructure concepts.” The e-tron Spyder can cover up to 50 kilometers powered only by electrical energy. Which might well be enough to visit one of Lang Lang’s concerts. And if it isn’t, the pioneering sports car has plenty of horsepower in reserve from a more conventional source.
Lang Lang is an ambassador for the Audi brand out of pure conviction. He is confident that the brand will essentially help form the future in the automobile boom country China. Audi was one of the pioneers in China. As far back as 1988, the company entered into a license agreement with Chinese vehicle manufacturer First Automotive Works (FAW) for the production of the Audi 100. Since then, Audi has become the undisputed market leader in the premium segment and delivered its millionth vehicle to a Chinese customer in October 2010. The next million mark is expected to come within the next three years. Today, plants in China produce the Audi A6 L and Audi A4 L saloon cars – both designed specially for the Chinese market – as well as the compact Audi Q5 SUV. At present, Audi is further expanding its production capacity in the country.
Lang Lang’s drive through Guangzhou has reached its destination: The spectacular new opera house, designed by British star architect Zaha Hadid, whose signature soft, flowing shapes perfectly symbolize China’s dynamic growth. Concert halls, theaters and galleries, like cars, are symbols of the country’s increasing prosperity. “Today, there are cultural flagships like this in almost every city,” explains Lang Lang, “and everywhere children are learning how to play piano.” Fans often ask him to tell them the secret of his success. “It’s quite simple,” he invariably replies. “Just do what you love doing.” Be it at the keyboard or behind the wheel.