When you hold a parade in China, you don't get hundreds of people turning up. You get hundreds of thousands.
Few still call it Red China, but Ferrari sure does. Not because of the centrally-planned communist economy that still rules there - if anything, quite the opposite. The People's Republic has grown into an increasingly vital market for global automakers, and while the majority of the country's billion-plus citizens may still get around on bicycles (or budget automobile), there are enough multi-millionaires (and F1 fans) to make China one of the largest, even for company like Ferrari that shares its iconic color with that of the country's flag.
This year, in fact, Ferrari is celebrating 20 years in China. The Italian automaker has a whole raft of celebrations planned over the course of the next 11 months to mark the occasion, but started last week at the Guangzhou Auto Show.
After unveiling the company's latest models inside the exposition hall, Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo presided over the largest parade of Ferraris ever to roll through China. Over 130 such cars participated as 250,000 people looked on, driving from the Ferrari dealership in Guangzhou to Haixinsha stadium where 18,000 spectators eagerly awaited the spectacle. Gianmaria Bruni demonstrated the 458 GT2 with which he won this year's International GT Open, and Montezemolo presented a limited edition 458 finished in Rosso Marco Polo and gold trim. Finally the city's biggest landmark, Canton Tower, was lit up in red to mark the occasion.