‘Red Tourism’, approved by Xi Jinping in 2014, is the combination of travel with sites relevant to patriotic history. The shared history led the directors of the China National Tourism Administration (CNTA) and the Federal Agency for Tourism of Russia to sign a plan for ‘red tourism routes’, along with 20 tour operators getting in on the patriotic journey. This resulted in a surge in visitors which has seen Chinese as the number one tourists ever since, increasing by 30% every year.
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Russia is a destination for Chinese shoppers lovers
Russia is now a destination which has the advantage of being able to ‘do it all’ tourism with historic sites that are not only relevant to China but a strong part of its national promotion. Do not under-estimate the power of ‘state-approved’ travel, regardless of which generation of Chinese you are targeting.
Over 100,000 Chinese travellers jetting off to Russia for the World Cup, even though their national team didn’t play. According to CTrip 57% of those travellers are female, another clear indication that Russia has now planted a flag on the international luxury map.
State of the current market
When focusing on luxury, one brand embodies the advantages of engaging with the Chinese luxury travellers, the historic department store and global luxury fashion leader situated besides the Bolshoi Theater in Moscow. TSUM has won the hearts and minds of affluent Chinese shoppers by not only adapting to their tastes but by pioneering in several innovative ways to ensure that the experience of the affluent Chinese client is seamless.
They also used the huge draw of the World Cup, with creative pop-ups of adidas ‘premium Deluxe Football’, inspired by Russian gold embroidery and hand-stitching, as well as a collaboration between Vogue Russia and TSUM on a limited edition collection of customization football-style shorts and t-shirts.
An important factor for Chinese consumers is price policy. If brands can be purchased at the lowest price in Europe, consumers will come for more than just the views.
Chinese people are really advanced in terms of using different electronic payment options in their country. Therefore, Apple Pay, Alipay, Union Pay and WeChat Pay makes purchases easier and allows buyers to skip a trip to a foreign exchange bureau.
Tax Free refunds should be implemented as this is another incentive for Chinese shoppers. When TSUM made a partnership with the government of Moscow and Global Blue Company, they hosted a “Moscow as a Tax Free Shopping Destination” event at the Russian Embassy Hall in Beijing, announcing the news and reaching more than 150 publications within 48 hours.
Challenges of this Chinese market
Chinese tourists generally prefer to combine shopping and sight-seeing, so it’s important to let them know what their options are. Chinese people appreciate personalized, creative and fun opportunities. Chinese consumers like to feel special and little details like Chinese speaking staff to exclusive brands that are not available for purchase in China, attract their attention.
Chinese consumers’ shopping habits have changed a lot within a decade as incomes have risen, and many now live a high-quality lifestyle putting value on quality and the “face” associated with social status and pride. They are very experienced in the latest fashion trends, loving the trend-setting pieces that are already sold out in Europe. Availability is key.
What we can do for the Russian brands?
Chinese social media is the secret ingredient needed to attract the attention of the Chinese market. You need to familiarise yourself with Baidu, WeChat and Weibo. WeChat is one of the most popular platforms to engage and attract Chinese consumers, incomparable to any western social platform. Younger Chinese travellers are able to research, plan and purchase their trips abroad within the WeChat application alone. Increasingly, mobile payment apps such as WeChat Pay (similar to PayPal, but so much more) have become an indispensable part of their lifestyle and travel. This is another important means of connecting with Chinese tourists. We can help with this and finding brand ambassadors who will spread news of your brand on Chinese platforms, making sure you stay visible and relevant.
Recent KOL (key opinion leaders) visits to Russia showed the various styles of promotion that turned on Chinese affluent travelers, with a mix of the visual and aspirational, to the logistical and practical. It is important to make yourself visible and available to Chinese consumers on the platforms that they are familiar with.
Aeroflot is the flag carrier and largest airline of the Russian Federation. Aeroflot is one of the oldest airlines in the world, tracing its history back to 1923. Russia is a beautiful country, with a long history with China. But despite this surge in popularity, Russia is not yet even among the top 10 destinations for Chinese tourists. That’s why the Russian government decided to work with GMA in order to increase the number of Chinese tourist in Russia.
The probability that the majority of sales will take place through e-commerce, rather than retail sales, is high. It’s something that you need to adapt your business module to and take advantage of. It is essential that your website in accordance with Chinese standards and easily available to them in Mandarin.
Tmall, JD and Yihaodian are popular Chinese e-commerce platforms. Tmall is the most reputable cross border e-commerce platform in China. The cross-border e-commerce platform is associated by Chinese consumers with quality and authenticity in a market place often associated with fake. But Tmall only accepted brands that have already a significant presence and realized high sales in China. That’s why a lot of companies are rejected by the platform, which is to ensure that they keep a high standard. There are two ways to join Tmall’s platform:
– If you are a company with China in-country business operations, you can apply to Tmall. com.
– If you are a company with overseas licenses, you are eligible to Tmall Global.
Search Engine optimization
Baidu is the source of 75% of the research made in China. Before buying everything, Chinese consumers will first spend time on Baidu to have more information about your brand.
The Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a strategy that works to rank your official website in the natural search results over time. If your ranking on the natural search results is good, you will be more visible and Chinese consumers will trust you.
esthetic norms in China are different from Western preferences of a clean design. Chinese consumers like pages with a lot of information, animations and pictures.
Adaptations of content in the Mandarin language need to be made because you have to be understood by your target market. A mandarin website will also allow you to do SEO because when they do research, they use mandarin key words. With SEO, you will gain in visibility, which is the key of success in China. Your website also needs to be hosted in China.
We are an international team, here to help you develop your business in China. We understand the needs, habits and wants of Chinese consumers. We also understand the foreign brands’ difficulties when they try to enter the Chinese market. Each member of the team is specialized in a field. They have experience and they are effective.
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