Don’t you just love to be able to type ‘ferrari’ into Google to see hundreds of images, reviews, videos and more? Not if you live in China.
In fact, if you live in China you might not even be able to read this article. Unfortunately for some Chinese car enthusiasts, state censors have supposedly been banning searches for Ferrari on micro-blogging sites.
It’s all about image. It seems The Prancing Horse has become the symbol for so-called “princelings,” wealthy young Chinese who use their parents’ privileges in the Communist elite to afford luxuries.
It all began in 2011 when the son of then-high-ranking politician Bo Xilai was spotted cruising around Beijing in a red Ferrari, a vehicle much more expensive than he should have been able to afford.
Once this started trending on Chinese social media, censors began blocking searches for Ferrari in the colour red. The Italian brand was censored again briefly in 2012 when a Chinese investor crashed his Prancing Horse into two other cars in Singapore.
It happened again in 2012 when the son of a top Communist party official was killed when he crashed his black Ferrari in Beijing. The crash was barely covered in state media but became such a hot topic on social networks for Ferrari to be banned again.
However, on 13th February there was another fatal Ferrari crash in Beijing which reportedly trended on social media with no censorship. Watch this space…