Americans have been going in debt, while the Chinese have been saving. But what are they doing with all the stashed cash? Spending it, of course–a good chunk of it on tourism in America. According to this NYTimes article, Luxury Stores Pull Out Mandarin Phrase Books to Make the Sale, Chinese tourists are traveling to places like New York City and spending big on luxury goods outside of China, mainly because of hefty taxes back home. What’s more is that there doesn’t seem to be any slowing of the flow:
“A record number of Chinese visited the United States last year — nearly 1.1 million — and the country accounts for one of the top-growing tourist groups here, according to the Commerce Department. The number of visitors is expected to almost double by 2014, according to the U.S. Travel Association. Chinese visitors spend about $6,000 each on every visit here, versus the $4,000 that visitors from other countries spend on average, the association says, and their top activity is shopping.”
Upscale stores like Montblanc are targeting and catering to Chinese tourists ready to spend loads of money by offering customer service who can speak Chinese (Mandarin and Cantonese), goods–like Year of the Dragon pens and wallets sized for the Chinese currency (RMB)–and handing out sales literature blazoned with Chinese characters, instead of English. Although American retailers are working diligently to woo the Chinese, there are still hurdles to negotiate–one being that U.S. tourist visas are harder for the Chinese to get than, say, one to Europe, where luxury retailing has a much longer history, and even heritage prestige appeal.
How far will you go to lure Chinese tourists to your business in the USA?