tourists from china 2

Chinese Luxury Shoppers



discern splash (2) splash the cash
cash consumer pick up (3)
spree relatively shopping spree
at least cry out (2) accommodate (2)
cool (2) capitalize egalitarian
appeal exhibition publication
accept road show desperately
install specialize pay terminal
impose variation restriction
average contribute hospitality
keen (2) exclusive no brainer


Video: Tourists from China, II



London’s West End has always attracted the more discerning shopper. And its luxury stores have long appealed to international visitors.

But at the moment, it’s the Chinese tourists who are really splashing the cash.

Since 2008, there’s been a cool 450% growth in Chinese spending in shops like these. In less than four year’s time, the Chinese will be the world’s largest consumer of luxury goods.

Now if you or I were to go on a big shopping spree, we’d spend on average about £120 per trip . . . but when the Chinese come to town, they’re spending at least £800 a time.

Dr. Karl Gerth, Author of “As China Goes, So Goes the World”: “They’ve become much more similar to us, meaning they have a lot of class variation.

China used to be one of the most egalitarian or equal societies on the planet. And the problem was everyone was relatively poor, and that they have had the same amount of nothing.

Now it’s become one of the most inegalitarian societies in the world — one of the most unequal, and there’s lots of people in between.

On the one hand, China has hundreds of millions of desperately poor people. But they also have this large and growing middle-class.

This middle-class wants the same kinds of things that we want.”

So how can British stores capitalize on that kind of spending power?

William Asprey, Chairman, William and Son: “We’re advertising in two Far Eastern publications, and we take road shows to different parts of the world: we were in Kuala Lumpur last week doing an exhibition there.

Because we are a small company and very specialized, the best way for us to advertise is to have people come in, pick up the product, have a close look it, feel, see, touch, get to know the quality and we can then explain it to them.”

Some of London’s larger department stores have employed Mandarin-speaking assistants to help Chinese shoppers make that special purchase.

And some businesses have installed machines that accept the Chinese bank card.

Here at the Ritz, they have seen a huge rise in the number of Chinese guests staying over the last couple of years. With me is Steven Boxall, the managing director.

Journalist: “And of course you have recently installed the Chinese Union pay terminal. It must have been a little bit of a no-brainer?

Stephen Boxall, Managing Director, The Ritz: “Completely. We’ve seen the travel from China increase threefold over the last couple of years. And to have China Union pay terminals installed was the right direction for us to go in.”

Journalist: “As a country, we’re very keen to get lots of tourists in; and we’re competing with Paris and Rome and Madrid. What can the government be doing to help us get these Chinese tourists in?”

Stephen Boxall: “The government’s got to help us out. The visa restrictions and the travel restrictions that are imposed on the Chinese market is terrible!

We’re crying out for business here: the hospitality industry contributes billions.”

So as wealthy Chinese tourists take the place of overspent Westerners on London’s most exclusive areas, shops and hotels must learn to accommodate their every need.

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1. What can you say about London’s West End? Describe the West End.

2. There has always been lots of Chinese tourists. Yes or no? Have their numbers been changing over the years?

3. Has China’s society and socio-economic class structure changed over the decades?

4. What is the marketing strategy of small companies? Which is the best way?

5. Have shops made it more convenient and accessible for Chinese tourists? What have they done?

6. British businesses want more Chinese tourists to visit the UK. True or false?

7. Are business people pressuring or lobbying the British government? What happens if there are travel restrictions on Chinese visitors?


A. The tourist industry is an important component of my country’s economy. Yes or no? Give examples. Where do tourists visit? What do they do?

B. Where do the tourists come from? Are there any visa or travel requirements for them?

C. What businesses benefit or profit from tourism?

D. Are more Chinese tourists visiting your country?

E. Does the government encourage and want more tourists to come and visit?

F. How can businesses and companies promote and develop tourism?

G. What will happen in the future?

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