- As of October 2014 there are over 650,000,000 internet users in China – and that doesn’t include the Chinese diaspora
- That’s 22% of the entire world’s population of internet users
- 0ver 60% of Chinese internet users use mobile phones to browse the web – that’s around 500,000,000
- The majority of Chinese people use social media channels rather than websites to research and share
- The Chinese spent over $274 billion on internet shopping in 2013. Of that, $28 billion was via mobile
- China is the 13th most valuable market in terms of spend in the UK
- At any one time there are around 100,000 Chinese students studying in the UK
- The ‘Golden Week’ (1-7 October) is the most popular time for Chinese people to take a foreign trip
- As a percentage, Chinese visitors spend more time and more money in the UK than any other European destination
- Less than 1% of major British brands – hotels, retail, etc have even a single Chinese language page on their websites and most of them haven’t even heard of WeChat and Weibo
We’re not sure what the problem is; to paraphrase a famous American politician; is it the known knowns, the known unknowns or the unknown unknowns? What is it that’s stopping the UK tourist industry fully engaging with one of the largest visitor markets in the world?
What we do know however, is that when UK businesses finally do take the plunge and with some careful guidance and advice, they soon see the fruits of their efforts.
Don’t just take our word for it.
According to Global Blue – the tax-free shopping experts, spending by visitors from China saw an increase of 10% in the year to September. This was the highest increase in spending by Chinese customers in the past six months. This growth is attributed to the families of students from China coming to the UK to help their children settle in to their universities.
According to UCAS (University and College Admissions Service), the number of international students admitted to UK universities in 2014 rose by 7%. Chinese make up 26% of international students. London universities are increasingly popular with Chinese students – despite the higher cost of living, which only goes to show that the money side of things isn’t always the main decision-making factor.
In 2013, more than 2,300 Chinese students enrolled at University College London, while at the London School of Economics, over 1,000 students were from China. On average, visitors China spend £668 per trip. The students’ families buy all the necessities to set students up-and-running in their new homes. They also have an additional spend on fashion items or accessories for themselves.
The London Luxury Quarter suggest that a single transaction for a watch or bag can result in a return visit with the families, who later spend millions on bespoke items, while staying in nearby five star hotels. It seems that there’s also scope for long-term investment opportunities as Chinese visitors are more likely to go on to buy a property or invest in London.