chinese shoppers five

Chinese Shoppers, three



battle alliance battle it out
boost promise absolutely
cynic recently turnover (3)
brand process period (3)
wallet customer make up (3)
obtain tough (2) Schengen Area
effort eliminate customs (2)
refund hostess knockout
cater head off what’s more
charm offensive beat/beat/beaten (2)
retail tradition charm offensive
afoot extent corner (2)
crave tweak aggressive
hire titan (2) cashmere
hire annual hospitality
senior trade (2) figure (4)
set express target (2)
desire bilateral punch (2)
royal top it off craftsmanship





Isa Soares: In one corner London; the other Paris. Both battling it out in a tug of war.

Over this . . .

The Chinese shopper!

The titans of tourism, right here in Europe.

Jim Bittermann, Senior International Correspondent: “Absolutely right, Isa. The Chinese are among the world’s most important shoppers at the moment.

It makes some cynics refer to them as walking wallets. And of course the French would like to see them walk into their stores.

The departments store in luxury brands got a big boost recently from the government, which has now speeded up the visa process for Chinese tourists, promising a visa within 48 hours.

Pierre Pelarrey, Director, Printemps Department Store: “Chinese customers make up around fifteen to twenty percent of our turnover, and can rise up to around thirty percent during their usual travel periods.”

What’s more, since France is part of the 26-nation Schengen Area of Europe, where immigration and customs controls have been eliminated, once inside the area, tourists can move freely.

And Isa, just to top it off, the French stores are really making an effort with hostesses and salespeople who speak Chinese, and in this store, an automated system where shoppers can obtain sales tax refunds, even before they head to the airport to go back home.

I hate to say it, but Paris is a tough place to beat.

Over to you Isa.

Isa Soares, London: “Well Jim, with eight times more Chinese shoppers than the UK, the French charm offensive may be working, but British retailers are saying “the battle is not over yet.”

Right now, London estimates that the UK loses some £1.2 billion annually in retail sales to other countries like France, and with that, twenty-four thousand jobs.

But change is afoot.

Richard Dickinson, U.K.-China Visa Alliance: “Forty percent more Chinese tourists arrive this year than last. And the government to a large extent is working with industry, with retailers and with business to see where we can tweak the process.”

In stores like the popular House of Hanover, David Basrawy is aggressively catering to the Chinese tourist. He’s hiring more Mandarin speakers … he trades Yuan for Pounds … and sells traditional British brands that Chinese crave.

David Basrawy, Director, House of Hanover: “They’re looking for suits, they’re looking for pure cashmere made in Scotland.”

But the British government has a plan: it has set a £100 billion trade target with China by 2015.

Ufi Ibrahim, British Hospitality Association: “We’ve seen a number of senior political figures from the United Kingdom go to China to express their strong desire to reach the fantastic bilateral trade targets that have been set.”

But the Brits have the final knockout punch: we have tradition … craftsmanship … modern royals … and Harrods.

So Jim, the battle is on.

“In France, I’m Jim Bittermann.”
“And I’m Isa Soares in London.”

*     *     *     *     *     *     *


1. In this video, London and Paris are fighting and competing over football. True or false?

2. What do merchants and businesses want to see? What would they like?

3. Has the government helped? How has the government facilitated commerce?

4. Chinese customers make up the majority of sales and profits at Paris department stores. Is this right or wrong?

5. Is being in the Schengen Zone an advantage or disadvantage for France? Is it a disadvantage for the UK?

6. Do Chinese tourist have to speak English and French to have a positive shopping experience?

7. Government officials are actively promoting Britain to the Chinese. Is this correct or incorrect?

8. Do the Chinese customers prefer modern or traditional British goods?


A. Is there a luxury shopping district or area of your city or country?

B. Who shops in these stores?

C. Do many foreign tourists visit and go shopping? Has there been an increase in Chinese tourists? What are some popular destinations and attractions?

D. Are the tourist and luxury goods industry big? Are they important to the economy?

E. What will happen in the future?


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