Japanese Department stores promote their brands to Chinese shoppers

Japan

With the number of Chinese visitors to Japan exceeding 2 million for the first time in 2014, Japanese store operators are racing to China to promote their outlets for prospective tourists to Japan.

Don Quijote Co., the operator of Don Quijote discount stores, which have been a popular destination for Chinese tourists to Japan, opened a liaison office in Beijing on Jan. 8.

While the company has not made marketing efforts in China, its outlets are known among Chinese tourists by word of mouth as stores where they can buy a bundle of electrical appliances, brand fashion items and cosmetics at discount prices.

The liaison office will work with travel agencies in China to promote Don Quijote stores to be included as stops in package tours.

“We will promote our stores by letting people know that we are open until late in the evening for the convenience of tourists who have a limited amount of time,” said a company official in charge of overseas marketing.

Don Quijote also plans to open a special website in February, which will allow foreigners planning to visit Japan to reserve items they plan to buy beforehand.

The number of Chinese visitors to Japan totaled 2.22 million during the January-November period of 2014, up 82 percent from the total number in 2013.

While the soured diplomatic relations between the two countries continue, the rapidly weakening yen in 2014 has made Japan an ideal shopping destination among Chinese overseas travelers.

Also on Jan. 8, major credit card company JCB Co. announced that it will release credit cards in China that provide special services and offerings for users during their visit to Japan.

The holders of the cards will be eligible for courtesy tickets to various sightseeing spots in Japan, free rental of mobile Wi-Fi devices for Internet connection and other special offerings.

The company also provides a free smartphone app for Chinese tourists, which offers sightseeing information in Tokyo.

Among the operators of major department store chains, Isetan Mitsukoshi Ltd. will distribute brochures promoting its stores in Tokyo and Kyoto at its outlet in Shanghai from Jan. 16.

The Shanghai Travelers’ Club magazine will also publish special luxury shopping content about Japan’s premium retail stores to further promote Japan as a leading luxury shopping destination in 2015.

J. Front Retailing Co., the parent company of Daimaru Matsuzakaya Department Stores Co., has also distributed brochures introducing its 10 major outlets in Japan at about 360 travel agent offices across China.

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Russia becomes unexpected hot shopping destination for chinese tourists

Chinese tourist in Moscow - China Elite Focus

Russia has become the most attractive shopping destination for Chinese tourists this season, surpassing Japan, South Korea, Thailand and the US, Xinhua news agency has reported.
Russia surpassed other countries in large part due to the devaluation of the ruble, which, together with the white winter, has made the country a “paradise for shopping” destination among Chinese tourists in the traditionally ‘dead’ winter season, RIA Novosti has explained. According to calculations by China’s “Ctrip” travel agency company, prices for Russian goods have fallen by at least 30 percent, turning Russia into what Guangzhou’s Southern Metropolis Daily calls a dark horse for tourism.

Moreover, as Xinhua has explained, travel agencies in Guangzhou, the capital of the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, have reported that the tour packages to Russia for the month of January have been almost completely filled. Guangzhou residents, who have never seen snow at home, have noted that they plan on going to Russia with two purposes in mind: as tourists and as shoppers. While in Russia, many plan to buy items such as mobile phones, brand name clothing and shoes, and cosmetics, items which many Russians had been bringing home from tourist trips to China not so long ago. Chinese tourists can expect to save up to four million yuan by booking trips in the winter months, Xinhua has explained.

Since the beginning of the sharp slide of the Russian currency last month, Chinese tourists were reported to have begun arriving in droves in Russian cities, both in the Far Eastern border areas and Russia’s European half, to take advantage of deals made possibly by the favorable exchange rate. “I have never seen so many Chinese people in Moscow; it feels like I am shopping back home,” an exchange student told Shanghai’s China Business News late last month. Chinese shoppers in cities such as Moscow were said to have focused then on the purchase of luxury brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Cartier, allowing them to avoid steep import taxes on the luxury items at home.

Chinese credit card China Union Pay plans aggressive expansion overseas to better serve Chinese travelers

China Union Pay

UnionPay International announced plans to expand its overseas presence Friday, with the company’s services already available in 148 countries and regions outside mainland China.
Beijinger Yin Nan said her experiences in the South Korea this week were no different from at home. Up to 80% of her spending, such as flight tickets, hotels and shopping, was paid through UnionPay.
“It’s very convenient because I don’t have to worry about exchanging a large amount of local currency,” she said.
“However, I do carry some cash for little souvenirs or street snacks,” she said.

The company already has a heavy presence in South Korea since entering the market in 2005, with more than 10 million UnionPay cards issued in cooperation with local banks.
“South Korea is one of the easiest markets in terms of using the UnionPay card,” the company said in an e-mail interview with Xinhua.

“Apart from Chinese users, an increasing number of people from countries such as Japan and Mongolia and China’s Hong Kong and Macao SARs are using UnionPay cards,” the company said.Gervois Rating Banner 01
In Hong Kong and Macao, almost all ATMs and businesses accept UnionPay cards. Nearly 20 million UnionPay cards have been issued in the two areas as well.
The Asia-Pacific region may be the market stronghold but UnionPay has also become a big international bankcard brand too. In Europe and North America, UnionPay covers most of the tour sites frequented by Chinese travelers.
“With respect to the global trend in the payment sector, we will continue to expand our coverage… meanwhile, we will also improve services so that more foreign nationals adopt our products,” the company said.

According to the Shanghai Travelers’ Club magazine, a travel publication for China’s richest “Even Chinese billionaires use their China Union Pay card to buy million dollars worth of jewelry in Paris or New York”.

Chinese travelers made more than 110 million overseas trips 2014, compared to less than 9 million in 1998.