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.