The market for high-powered motorbikes is expected to boom after the Government moved to relax policies on driving licences, which will take effect from next March.

The Ministry of Transport last week removed regulations on providing the special A2 licences for motorbikes with an engine capacity of more than 175 cc. The licence was previously limited to specific applicants, typically police officers, military personnel and motorsport athletes.

According to the ministry, the A2 licences will be granted to applicants who pass driving tests for high-capacity motorbikes.

Market insiders said despite tight regulation on A2 licensing, the high-powered motorbike market had seen rising sales during recent years.

Meanwhile, many people have been reportedly trying to join motorsport clubs, just to be eligible for the licences.

Nguyen Van Dung, director of Viet Nhat Corporation, a leading dealer for Yamaha in Hanoi, said his company last year began importing a range of high-powered bikes. "I think there will be a influx of high-powered imports from now on to service the boom in demand after the A2 law is removed," he said.

Sensing the trend, Suzuki Vietnam last year imported a number of high-powered bikes such as the GSX-R1000, GSX-R750, GRX-R600, Inazuma, Intruder M18000 and M800.

Meanwhile, a number of world leading bike makers have set up official dealerships in the country in the past two years, including names such as Benelli, Ducati and KTM.

Ducati was the first European manufacturer to come to Vietnam, setting up shop in 2009 and within three years, expanding its reach from HCM City to Hanoi to meet the increasing demand in the North.

Famed Austrian sport brand KTM arrived in August and opened dealerships in Hanoi last month after opening its first outlet in Ho Chi Minh City.

Harley Davidson and the UK's Triumph are expected to join the market soon.

The Vietnamese market has seen significant growth with around 3 million bikes purchased annually. Five joint ventures currently dominate local market with a 95-percent share, including Honda, Yamaha, SYM, Suzuki and Piaggio.-VNA