Visa signs MoU with China UnionPay

China UnionPay and Visa Inc signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate on payments security, Visa said on Thursday.

The MoU comes as Visa awaits regulations that would give it direct access to the Chinese market for clearing bank card transactions. The market was valued at $6.84 trillion in 2014.

China had announced last year that it would open up the market for foreign payment networks from June.

Visa, the world’s largest payments network operator, had said in January that it continues to work towards making a formal application in China while awaiting final regulations.


Same-Day ACH is Coming

We live in an instant messaging, instant streaming, instant gratification, Instagram world. Since the inception of the ACH Network in 1974, ACH payments have been processed on a next-day or two-day basis. Today, for many payments, that’s just not fast enough.

The rule and timeline

On May 19, 2015, NACHA, the National Automated Clearinghouse Association, announced the adoption of a Same Day ACH rule. The new rule means that soon you can initiate ACH payments, and your payees can receive available funds, on the same day within the U.S.

Instead of one deadline a day for ACH transactions, you’ll have three options: a new morning Eastern Time (ET) deadline for same-day settlement, a new afternoon ET deadline for same-day settlement, and the existing evening deadline for next-day settlement.

Same-day functionality will be implemented in three phases:

  • Phase 1: ACH credits — September 2016
  • Phase 2: ACH debits — September 2017
  • Phase 3: Faster funds availability, 5:00 p.m. local time — March 2018

How will you use Same Day ACH?

All ACH transactions are eligible for same-day processing with two exceptions: international transactions (IATs) and transactions valued above $25,000 are ineligible. However, Same Day ACH transactions are considered premium transactions and, as such, will incur a surcharge, so you’ll likely use the service selectively. Here are some use cases and examples to consider for your company and yourself:

  • Hourly and emergency payroll (also bonuses, off-cycle payroll)
  • Expedited business-to-consumer payments (insurance payouts)
  • Faster business-to-business payments (goods held until payment is received)
  • Accelerated merchant card settlement (on digital and mobile sites)
  • Consumer-to-business online bill payments (due-date payments)
  • Person-to-person payments (split bills, emergencies)

Get ready for Same Day ACH

Because Same Day ACH has a different risk profile and pricing schedule than next-day ACH, you’ll need to be set up before you can initiate same-day transactions. Talk to your treasury management representative to start the process.

Your payroll and accounts payable systems also will need to be set up. You must clearly identify Same Day ACH payments by putting the same-day effective date in the batch header. This is the date on which you want the payments to settle — not the payroll period or other date from your payment system.

There is a cap of $25,000 on same-day transactions, and dividing a higher-value payment into two or more separate transactions to get around this cap is a rule violation. Logic should be programmed into your internal application to screen out payments above the $25,000 limit.

Your accounts will be debited for outgoing and credited with incoming same-day payments sooner than before, so you may need to manage your intraday liquidity more closely. Subscribe to intraday bank reports to stay on top of your cash position.

For more information, contact your Wells Fargo representative or fill out the Contact Us form on this site.

Hainan Airlines launching non-stop flights between Beijing & Las Vegas

According to a statement on the Civil Aviation Administration of China’s (CAAC) website, Hainan Airlines has applied for permission to launch three weekly flights to Las Vegas from September 2016. The carrier will deploy its Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft on the route.

If approved by CAAC, Las Vegas will become the carrier’s fifth destination in United States, following Chicago, San Jose, Seattle and Boston.

The new cross-Pacific service will also mark Las Vegas’ first connection to mainland China.

As Tourism Record Is Set, New York City Sees Surge in Chinese Visitors


The TKTS bleachers north of Times Square remain a popular destination for visitors to the city. Credit Kevin Hagen for The New York Times

Mayor Bill de Blasio may have diverged from his predecessor’s path several times in his first year in office, but when it comes to tourists, he has embraced Michael R. Bloomberg’s rallying cry: Keep them coming.

Mr. de Blasio increased the city’s spending on tourism promotion in 2014 and is considering doing so again this year, said Alicia Glen, a deputy mayor. City officials are expected to announce on Monday that the official count of visitors to the city last year was 56.4 million, up from the previous peak of 54.3 million in 2013.

The influx of tourists has been growing steadily since the recession ended, consistently surpassing the goals set by city officials. The impact of tourism on the city’s economy has been increasing too, but not as fast as projected.

NYC & Company, the city’s tourism promotion agency, estimated that tourism spurred $61.3 billion in economic activity last year, far from the pace needed to reach its goal of $70 billion annually in 2015. Much of the discrepancy can be explained by shifts in the global economy, said Fred Dixon, the chief executive of NYC & Company.

A weak American dollar had drawn hordes of shoppers from Brazil and other countries where tariffs make goods more expensive. Brazilians, who make up the third-largest contingent of foreign tourists, had developed a reputation for filling suitcases with purchases of clothing and everyday items.

Now, with the dollar’s rebound diluting some of the buying power of foreign currencies, city officials are banking on drawing more visitors from less-tapped sources, especially China.

City officials estimate that more than 740,000 visitors came from China in 2014, almost five times as many as in 2009. China passed France last year to move into fourth place as a source of foreign tourists, behind Britain, Canada and Brazil, tourism officials said.

Already, the Chinese are the largest contingent of foreign visitors to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, said Emily Rafferty, president of the museum and chairwoman of NYC & Company’s board of directors. “They’re definitely the No. 1 visitors to us and we predict it’s growing,” she said.

A recent rule change that will extend visas for citizens of China to 10 years from just one should fuel a continued surge of tourism, Mr. Dixon said.

So far, Mr. Dixon said, the bulk of the Chinese visitors have come in groups that sweep through New York and a few other American cities in rapid succession. But a new group of wealthier Chinese tourists, who spend considerably more on luxuries, is emerging, he said.

The Chinese tourism target of the future “is going to be the higher-spending, longer-staying, upper-middle-class and luxury market,” Mr. Dixon said. In contrast to Brazilian visitors, he said, the Chinese tend to shop for more expensive items, like watches, to take home as gifts.

Ms. Glen said that diversifying the sources of tourism as a hedge against economic slumps in particular countries or regions is one aim of the de Blasio administration. “We don’t want to be too reliant on any specific place,” she said.


NYC & Company is nearing the end of a five-year contract with the city, which supplies about one-third of its funding. The rest comes from the hotels, museums, restaurants and other businesses that make up its membership.

Ms. Glen said the city gave NYC & Company an additional $1 million last year, on top of its base allocation of about $12 million. She said city officials were still discussing how much additional money to give the agency in the coming year.

To enhance New York’s all-American allure, NYC & Company selected Taylor Swift, the music star, as the city’s unofficial — and unpaid — ambassador last fall, a choice that went over as well with some New Yorkers as Mr. de Blasio’s use of a knife and fork to eat pizza.

“The thinking behind choosing Taylor was igniting a new conversation,” Mr. Dixon said.

He added, “She ignited a lot of conversation.”

Plus, he said, Ms. Swift, who moved to the city last year, performed her new song “Welcome to New York” on national television from Times Square on New Year’s Eve. The dividends from having “the biggest pop star of the moment” do that will be rolling — and flying — in for years to come, he said.

Maine trade delegation sets sights on China’s vast middle class

Lyle Brown of Maine Coast Seafood in York will be part of the Maine trade delegation to Asia. Brown used to live and work in China and speaks Mandarin, the country’s official dialect. Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

Lyle Brown of Maine Coast Seafood in York will be part of the Maine trade delegation to Asia. Brown used to live and work in China and speaks Mandarin, the country’s official dialect. Gabe Souza/Staff Photographer

Can you translate “Maine, the way life should be” into Chinese?

If not, don’t worry – the Maine Office of Tourism has done it for you.

The agency recently launched a website in Chinese in an attempt to bring more Chinese tourists to Maine. The country’s burgeoning middle class – and its increasing ranks of wealthy investors – are drawing interest from Maine businesses and government officials, a group of whom will be leaving Saturday on a trade mission to China and Japan. Although the trade delegation will seek more export opportunities for Maine products such as lobster and composite materials, it is also trying to develop partnerships that will lure Chinese money to Maine in the form of tourism dollars, tuition payments and business investments.

The growth of the Chinese economy over the past decade has propelled millions of Chinese families into the middle class, driving huge increases in consumption. It’s estimated that 500 million Chinese – more than the entire population of the United States – will enter the middle class over the next decade, according to the consulting firm Ernst & Young.

Many of those people will look for U.S. vacation destinations and American educations for their children, as well as investment opportunities that promise more stable returns than those in China, whose economy has been on a roller coaster for the past six months. Maine is positioning itself to capitalize on that interest.

Nearly one in 10 Chinese visitors to the United States came to New England in 2014, though how many made their way to Maine is unknown, said Carolann Ouellette, director of the Maine Office of Tourism.

But she’d like to attract more of them. The tourism office’s Chinese Web page, launched in June, is part of the Chinese website of Brand USA, an organization that promotes the U.S. as a travel destination. Maine’s Web page highlights bright-red lobster (the color red symbolizes good fortune in China), L.L. Bean, Acadia National Park, Mount Katahdin and the Maine Mall.


A contributing factor to the influx of Chinese tourists to New England, said Ouellette, is that Hainan Airlines began offering the first nonstop service between Boston’s Logan International Airport and Beijing in June 2014. Last week the airline was advertising nonstop, round-trip tickets between Boston and Beijing for $750.

Not only are more Chinese tourists making their way to New England, they’re exploring destinations beyond the typical, said Suzanne Fox, a consultant based in Portland who advises Maine businesses interested in working in China.

“Chinese tourists are looking for America 2.0,” Fox said. “America 1.0 was Washington, D.C.; New York City; San Francisco and Walt Disney World. Now they’re going off the beaten path.”

Coming from a society of rapid urbanization, Chinese tourists are drawn to pristine natural environments.

“Our natural beauty is a huge attraction to people living in cities of 20 million people,” said John Ritzo, associate headmaster for advancement at Thornton Academy in Saco, which has a robust student recruitment campaign in China. “To be able to come over here and breathe clean air and drink clean water – it’s a big draw.”

There also are local efforts to boost Portland’s appeal in China.

Creative Portland, a quasi-public nonprofit that supports and promotes Portland’s arts and cultural communities, in July submitted an application to UNESCO for Portland to become a member of its Creative Cities Network as a gastronomy hub. As part of the application process, Fox traveled to Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan Province, which is recognized by UNESCO for its gastronomic heritage. In June, she met with its vice mayor, Fu Yonglin, to discuss the possibility of a sister city relationship over the cities’ shared passion for food and art. She promoted Portland’s rising reputation for restaurants and foodie culture and compared that with Chengdu’s celebrity as the hotbed of Sichuan cuisine.

“I talked the good talk and he loved the proposal,” she said.

Last week, Fox received an email from Vice Mayor Fu.

“Chengdu attaches great importance to collaborating with Portland in such areas as food, art, tourism, education and investment,” the letter reads. “Through our joint efforts, we look forward to carrying out cooperation in various areas with Portland.”

Creative Portland will learn in December whether UNESCO approves its designation as a Creative City.


Maine isn’t only interested in boosting exports to China; it also wants to grow imports of a very valuable product – Chinese students.

There are between 1,000 and 1,500 Chinese students studying in Maine right now, said Wade Merritt, vice president of the Maine International Trade Center, which is organizing the trade mission. Those students have helped boost enrollment numbers and tuition dollars at Maine’s private high schools, and to a lesser extent its public schools.

Thornton Academy is one such school. Eight years ago, worried about falling enrollment, Thornton’s board decided to build some dorms and start recruiting foreign students to the school, which offers sixth through 12th grades.

This year, 150 international students are enrolled at Thornton, and just a tad under 50 percent are from China, said Ritzo, the associate headmaster for advancement. Each of those students is paying $45,000 in tuition, room and board.

The school isn’t sending a representative on the trade mission, because staffers already make at least two trips a year to China. In fact, Thornton’s director of admissions was in China last week marketing the school to prospective students.


The University of Maine, which currently has 107 students from China in its undergraduate and graduate programs, will be sending representatives on the trade mission. Although student recruitment will be on the agenda, Jeff Hecker, UMaine’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, also will be looking to strengthen existing research-and-development partnerships with educational institutions in Japan and China, and create new ones. He’ll meet with representatives of Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology to explore opportunities for collaboration, and with representatives of Shanghai Ocean University, with which UMaine already has a partnership.

“It’s a long way to go, so we’re trying to kill as many birds with one stone as we can,” Hecker said.

Last week, The New York Times reported there are now more billionaires in China (596) than the United States (537).

During the trade mission, Gov. Paul LePage and his commissioner of economic development, George Gervais, will promote Maine as a place to invest.


Chinese and Japanese companies increasingly look at overseas investments as a pathway to growth, said Tony Kieffer, managing partner of Maine Asia, a Portland-based consulting firm that helps Maine companies interested in doing business in China.

“Maine has some tremendous attributes for the right investor,” Kieffer said. “There are very qualified investors over there and there’s a lot of money on the sidelines despite what’s been happening in the markets over there. The smart money isn’t playing that market.”

To entice more foreign investors, the trade center in January opened an office in Shanghai to act as a conduit for Chinese investors who want to learn more about investing in Maine, and the LePage administration this summer said it was considering seeking federal approval to establish a program to award permanent U.S. residency to foreign investors willing to make significant investments in Maine.

But even without such a tool, known as the EB-5 program, Chinese investors have already targeted Maine.

In July, the Shengton Group of Beijing announced plans to invest $40 million to build a luxury medical tourism facility in Auburn. Its subsidiary, Miracle Enterprises, acquired two former shoe factory buildings in the city this summer that will be renovated to contain suites where wealthy Chinese nationals will come for medical treatments provided by Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston, said Roland Miller, Auburn’s economic development director. He expects the renovations will take two years, but once complete, the rehab center will provide a steady regional economic impact.

“This is the first investment that this company has done in the United States, so this is a real fantastic win for Maine and for our region,” Miller said.

In addition to this future medical tourism facility, it was a Chinese investment group – International Grand Investment Corp. – that purchased in 2010 the Woodland Pulp mill in Baileyville. Last year, it said it would invest as much as $120 million to install two tissue paper machines in the mill.

LePage and his staff will meet with representatives of both Chinese investment groups while they’re in China.

Even local municipalities recognize the opportunities. The city of Westbrook last month held an informational meeting with the Hong Kong Trade Development Council for local business owners interested in doing business in China.

Bill Baker, Westbrook’s economic development director, organized the conference also as a way to highlight Westbrook in the eyes of Chinese investors. It was small – about 15 people attended – but the results could be large if the right connections were made.

“What will come from it remains to be seen, but it does seem like a market with a lot of potential for Maine companies,” Baker said.


With the exception of Canada, all of Maine’s largest trade partners are in Asia.

Japan, Malaysia and South Korea have consistently been major export partners for decades, but the big surprise is China.

In 1996, China was Maine’s 20th largest trade parter, importing less than $10 million worth of Maine-made goods. Since then, the value of Maine exports to China has increased nearly 1,760 percent, to $184 million in 2014, placing it second only to Canada.

The fastest-growing Maine export to China is lobster. Last year, China imported nearly $26.4 million worth of Maine’s famous crustacean – live, frozen and processed, according to trade data from federal sources. In 2009, a meager $3,775 worth of Maine lobster made its way to China – that’s an increase of 698,302 percent in five years.

There are several reasons for that explosive growth, said Lyle Brown, who handles business development in Asian markets for Maine Coast Seafood in York. One, Maine lobsters are less expensive than spiny Australian lobsters, which is a popular dish at Chinese New Year events and weddings because they resemble dragons, a revered mythical creature in China. The average cost per pound of Australian lobster in China is $28, compared with $8 per pound for Maine lobster, Brown said.

Maine lobsters also have the advantage of, when cooked, turning red – a color that in China symbolizes good luck and celebration, Brown said.

“That’s a huge, huge thing. It’s a good marketing tool to use it for celebration events, such as weddings,” Brown said. “Couple that with the growing transition of people into the middle-class economy who can afford that,” and the market opportunity is clear.

Maine Coast shipped 1.2 million pounds of live lobster to China in 2014, a 15 percent increase from 2013.


During the Maine International Trade Center’s last trade mission to China in 2012, it organized a large Maine lobster marketing event in Hong Kong. More than 60 Chinese seafood buyers attended the event, said Janine Bisaillon-Cary, the center’s director.

“I definitely think that has had a big influence,” she said. “That was really one of the first times we started hearing people able to differentiate Maine lobster and what had been erroneously called Boston lobster.”

Bisaillon-Cary said a similar lobster-centric event in Shanghai is planned for the upcoming trip.

Brown, who once lived in China and speaks Mandarin – China’s official dialect – will accompany the trade mission to Shanghai, where he’ll meet with Maine Coast Seafood’s existing trade partners. After that, he plans to travel to the city of Qingdao for the 2015 China Fisheries and Seafood Expo, which is expected to attract 25,000 visitors over the course of three days in early November.

“It’s probably one of the largest seafood shows in the world,” said Brown, who attended for the first time last year. “We want to grow our global footprint in these areas, but we need to do it with importers we can work successfully with.”

Next Stop: Harvardland


Credit Serge Bloch for The New York Times

What do Chinese travelers — America’s fastest-growing tourist segment — want to see on vacation? Elite universities, of course.

Nine of 10 prospective Chinese visitors to the United States want to tour a university, according to a survey last year of several thousand by Attract China, which helps hospitality companies woo them.

Trademark Tours in Boston has seen its bookings from China triple since 2010. All its groups request its “Hahvahd” tour; just over half also see M.I.T.

Tour buses clogging the streets spurred Stanford to stop providing student-led tours to commercial groups last year and to cap the number of buses allowed on campus, said DJ Dull-MacKenzie, its director of visitor relations. His concern: becoming “the Disneyland of campuses.”

Wang Yuntao, 29, who works for a state-owned bank in Xi’an, stopped at Stanford, the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Southern California last fall while on a two-week visit. Why? “One reason is because they are famous. If you tour places that nobody’s heard of, you can’t brag about it.”

So what did he like?

“American universities are much more open than Chinese ones,” he said. “There are no walls. There is drinking water and free bikes for everyone.”

And this: “I was excited. I felt this urge to have a free exchange of ideas with someone.”

Asian Luxury Consumers are diverse

However convenient it may be for luxury brand marketers to treat the world as one market, they would achieve more success if they recognise consumers in Asia buy for different reasons than in the West, according to a new study. Paurav Shukla, professor of luxury brand marketing at Glasgow Caledonian University, led field research that explored the views of 900 luxury consumers in China, India, Indonesia and the UK.

Writing in The Conversation, an independent online academic portal, Prof Shukla emphasised that luxury brands must consider the diversity of individual markets when drawing up their marketing strategies. Indian luxury consumers, for example, are particularly influenced by what others think of them and consume to achieve societal acceptance, he said.

They use luxury brands to indicate social status, symbolising achievement, wealth and prestige while much of their purchase decisions are rooted in group decisions. By contrast, Prof Shukla said, Indonesian culture revolves around how you judge yourself, not how others see you. He said consumers will not follow the recommendations of others if their choice is unappealing.

Meanwhile, in China, the research indicated that consumers there place a very high value on the quality that luxury brands represent. Despite the well-publicised government crackdown on luxury gift-giving, Chinese consumers are willing to pay a premium in order to obtain that quality.

Partly because of the approach being taken by the Chinese authorities over luxury goods, Shukla recommended that brands adopt a subtle approach in their bid to appeal to consumers there.

“Connecting the idea of buying luxury brands with personal identity and pleasure may be the best strategy,” he advised.

However, in Indonesia, he said it would be better “to customise the sales pitch to include some emphasis on how a brand could enhance a consumer’s sense of self and make them feel good about themselves”. A focus on the experiential aspects of buying and using a luxury brand would also help.

Finally, consumers in India – rather like their counterparts in the UK – care more about what others think of their purchases, so effective communications there should highlight a luxury brand’s social acceptability as well as its connection to achievement, prestige and wealth.

Princess Cruises’ new Ships for Chinese Market

2015/07/15 By

An official keel laying ceremony has taken place at the Fincantieri shipyard in Monfalcone, Italy, with a traditional Chinese lion dance to bring good luck and a blessing by a priest.

The 500-tonne keel – the bottom of the ship – was ceremoniously lowered into position on keel blocks by crane, so that work can begin to customize the yet-to-be-named ship for the Chinese market.

More than two million man-hours will go into building the 3,600-passenger ship, which will remain in the building dock until float out next summer.

“We’re incredibly excited to mark this step in the ship’s construction,” said Anthony Kaufman, Princess Cruises’ senior vice president of Asia operations, who travelled to Italy for the ceremony.

“We’re very pleased to be working with our long-term partner, Fincantieri, on our newest ship and we appreciate their partnership and collaboration to customise and tailor the ship for the Chinese market.”

Cherry Wang, director of Carnival China, who also travelled to Italy for the ceremony, said: “The lion dance has been part of the Chinese culture for thousands of years and is performed on various auspicious occasions and celebrations.

“According to traditional Chinese belief, the lion signifies courage, wisdom, and good fortune and brings happiness, longevity, and good luck.

We believe this special ceremony will bring prosperity and good fortune to Princess Cruises and our guests in China.”

The new Royal Class ship will offer many of the same special features as Royal Princess and Regal Princess.

These include the dramatic multi-story atrium serving as the social hub of the ship; an over-the-ocean SeaWalk, a top-deck glass-bottomed walkway extending 28 feet beyond the edge of the ship; the Princess Live! interactive studio; and a special Chef’s Table Lumiere, a private dining experience that surrounds diners in a curtain of light.

Although the ship will focus on the Chinese market, its itineraries will be available to passengers world-wide, will enjoy experiencing cuisines from China, Japan, South-East Asia, Italy, France, and North America among other regions.

The ship will feature Princess Watercolor Fantasy, a fountain and music show; Movies Under the Stars with the largest outdoor screen at sea; and balconies on all outside staterooms.

Accommodations will be configured to appeal to families and multi-generational travellers and all announcements will be in English as well as Chinese.

Other highlights will include the World Leaders Dinner, traditional English afternoon tea, a Lobster Grill, Ultimate Balcony Dining, an ocean view hot pot dinner option, ballroom dancing and duty-free shopping.


Eight Surprising Facts about the Chinese Luxury Consumer

3023 Eight Surprising Facts about the Chinese Luxury Consumer

Posted On 2015/07/09 By In News

This is the year of the Chinese consumer. They’re buying more often, in more places, and becoming brand-savvier on a daily basis. A large number of brands have found Chinese consumers are driving their sales – not only in China, but abroad. In fact, out of all consumer demographics,34% of all duty-free purchases in France are made by Chinese consumers. This demonstrates the clout they have in the international marketplace, emphasizing why it is imperative for brands to pinpoint their China marketing strategy.

We’ve pulled together eight surprising facts about the Chinese consumer from Bomoda’s 2015 China Luxury Blueprint that every brand needs to know in order to succeed in China.

1. They’re younger than you think

The average Chinese luxury consumer, unlike the typical Western luxury consumer, is much younger than you’d think.

In fact, the average age of Chinese luxury consumers, at home or abroad, is 33.1 years. And more than 80% of all Chinese luxury consumers are between the ages of 25 and 44.

2. They’re not as well-off as you’d expect

The average annual household income of the Chinese luxury consumer is $83,361. Compare that to the average annual income of a luxury car owner in the United States, who earned $99,364 in 2014.

3. Most are married and have children

Speaking of households, the vast majority of Chinese luxury consumers are married. 82% have tied the knot, while 65% have children under the age of 18 at home.

4. They’re mobile natives

98% of all Chinese consumers have smartphones — a staggering number. And not only do most of them have smartphones, they are searching and purchasing more on their smartphones than their Western peers as well.

5. They all have WeChat

By necessity, social media channels in China are distinct from the social media channels we’re familiar with. 65% of Chinese consumers use Weibo, 87% use Baidu and 90% use WeChat. Yet only 39% of Western luxury brands have a WeChat account.

6. They prefer brand names in Chinese

Part of successful Chinese marketing includes a Chinese name. Across the board, search volume for Chinese brand names is 13% higher than search volume for official English names.

This is especially true on secondary search engines like Haosou and Sogou, where Chinese name searches are 150% and 340% greater than English name searches.

7. They like to shop at retail

The average Chinese luxury consumer still prefers to shop at retail stores. 67% of all luxury purchases made in China and 54% of all overseas purchases are made in store.

8. Alipay is an important method of purchase

While credit cards and China UnionPay are still the two largest payment methods, third-party payment options like Alipay are gaining ground. 40% of Chinese luxury consumers have used Alipay to purchase a luxury product in the past year.

The ever-changing Chinese consumer

All of the above is immaterial without understanding one key point: The Chinese consumer is evolving quickly. Her knowledge of brands has grown from recognizing just three logos to nearly 20 in the past three years. Sales through International websites and foreign resellers are growing at nearly 100% per year. 100 million annual outbound tourist trips ensures she knows exactly what her Western peers know. Her world is being created by her, shaped by her network and not by an authoritative third party. And this will only accelerate for the foreseeable future.

Chinese tourists addicted to Wi-Fi

  • Chen Jung-cheng and Staff Reporter
  • 2015-07-03
Chinese tourists take a photo in front of the National Palace Museum in Taipei. (Photo/China Times)

Chinese tourists take a photo in front of the National Palace Museum in Taipei. (Photo/China Times)

Chinese tourists reportedly get cranky, grumpy, and overally unhappy with their travel experience if they do not have access to internet while traveling, reports our Chinese-language sister paper Want Daily.

Almost 90% of Chinese tourists think free Wi-Fi is one of the most important factors in assessing whether a trip is high quality or not, according to a survey done by Chinese travel agency Ctrip.

One Chinese tour guide told the reporter that regardless of age, Chinese tourists all ask about free Wi-Fi services and if their hotel offers it. If it is not available, they will get visibly upset. The travelers were also said to frequent a hotel’s lobby should it provide free Wi-Fi for customers. “They will get out of control with boredom if they don’t have internet,” the tour guide said.

Japan now is promoting free Wi-Fi all over the country in response to a recent influx of Chinese visitors. One hotel operator, AccorHotels, stopped charging guests for using Wi-Fi in an attempt to get more business. Some Chinese tour guides have even gone as far as to bring routers with them to service their customers.