Chinese New Year is Coming, Is Your Business Prepared?

Author: Neishya Harrison

Chinese New Year. Spring Festival. The Golden Week. Whatever you want to call it, the upcoming February 8 holiday is the no. 1 cultural festival in China. Ahead of even Singles Day in terms of notoriety, Chinese New Year is responsible for what is possibly the largest annual mass migration on the planet. All over the country, over 100 million workers abandon their city jobs, returning to their hometowns to celebrate the New Year with their families.

Online retailers such as Taobao are slashing prices to encourage consumers to splurge when welcoming in the New Year. For many foreign companies, especially those in e-commerce, the annual holiday and virtual shutdown of commercial activity requires planning as many Chinese suppliers may cease or significantly diminish operations during the period.

This year of the monkey will also see a continuation of the trend that sees huge numbers of Chinese travellers heading abroad to celebrate the New Year.

While an expected 2.9 billion domestic trips are estimated to be made during the Spring Festival period, triggering a massive overload to the country’s transportation systems, more and more Chinese are opting to take their celebrations abroad. Ctrip.com International, the popular online travel agency, anticipates that over 6 million outbound trips by Chinese tourists will be made, setting a new ‘Golden Week’ travel record.

Airlines such as Air Asia, Air China and Cathay Pacific have all added additional flights to their rosters to accommodate skyrocketing volumes of outward-bound travel over the period. Mafengwo.cn a tourism information sharing website claim that online bookings per capita for international travel are up 30% this year as well.

Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show that 722 200 overseas visitors came to Australia in February 2015, up 14.4% on the previous year. Of that number, 164 000 were Chinese. This year Chinese arrivals are expected to increase. Similarly between 70 000 and 75 000 Chinese are expected to visit New Zealand in February, a 35% increase on the same period last year. Akin to this information, chinadaily.com.cn the reputable English language newspaper published in the PRC, has claimed that Australia is always a popular destination for Chinese tourists.

Even despite the recent economic slowdown, this Chinese New Year period is expected to be a busy one. With average spending for Chinese tourists expected to exceed 10 000 RMB ($2200 AUD). Prominent industry insiders at China Tourism Academy have also claimed that the prospects for high-end tourism are bright as Chinese travellers continue to break records, making an average of 4 billion trips annually.

With Australia’s resource based exports on the decline, Tourism is fast becoming one of the country’s most important offerings to Chinese consumers.

Reported as being ‘the next mining boom’ by some, tourism has become Australia’s second largest export earner at $102 billion, and in New Zealand, our closest competitor, is predicted to surpass Dairy as the country’s most significant export. Tourism Australia expects aggregate spending from Chinese tourists to double to around $13 billion by 2020. Sydney also hosts one of the largest Chinese New Year celebrations outside of China – so there is great potential for the Australian tourism sector during the Golden Week.

But while the mass exodus of Chinese travellers overseas is a potential boon to our Tourism industry on the whole, it does not come without its challenges. To many local operators the greatest challenge comes in the form of the language barrier. Hiring staff with knowledge of Mandarin during the busy February period is common practice, and the pressure is now on for Australian businesses to upgrade their facilities and services in order to compete for lucrative Chinese tourist dollars.

In order for your business to take advantage of trends in the Chinese market it is important to consult an expert on brand strategy with particular focus on the Chinese market. For more information on the significance of Chinese New Year to your business, or to find out how your business can tap into the Chinese market, contact 3mandarins today and commission a China Opportunities Business Report.

From all of us at 3mandarins祝大家新年快乐!

Author: Neishya Harrison