There are signs everywhere that the expanding middle-class Chinese are globally mobile. Brands are noticing and catering to this new consumer. You can see it in the advertisements where companies are selling a specific lifestyle, such as this Toyota Highlander ad I saw a few months ago.
Even more interesting are ATM and credit card advertisements from Western companies. HSBC and American Express have long been marketing to global consumer. Their ads are more or less duplicated for each market with minor changes, such as translating a phrase or hiring ethnic models to represent the target market. But other than translation and localization, there is not much that differentiates an HSBC ad at London Heathrow from the one in Shanghai Pudong.
I saw this Citibank ATM ad as I was running through the doors of Hongqiao Train station in Shanghai to catch my flight back to Wuhan. In what looks to be a Chinese couple in a European city, the wife has happily returned from her shopping spree to a husband who was drinking an espresso. He appears to be quite happy seeing all her colorful shopping bags. With their no-fee withdrawal ATM card, both the husband and wife can enjoy their vacation without the worry of running out of cash.
Citibank reminds the viewer that these types of shopping experiences are possible because with an ATM card, shopping is now possible anywhere in the world.:
"you can withdraw money without paying fee [with Citibank ATM card], regardless if you are in this country or abroad, or withdrawing from Citibank or other banks."
This picture reflects the primary reason Chinese tourists travel: shopping. Chinese tourists overall prefer material experiences instead of relaxing or spiritual excursions. The The Economist tells us that they the Chinese tourist's ideal material experiences are not "in luxurious hotels and lavish meals. Coming from a newly affluent, increasingly unequal society, they have a strong preference for the accumulation of material goods.’”
China Mike has compiled a list of statistics that show you just how much Chinese outbound travel has changed global tourism. For example, here are a few stats and graphs:
- In 2008, Chinese tourists passed all other nationalities as the biggest shoppers in France, according to a survey by the French government. [The Financial Times, “Chinese travellers change the face of tourism” June 8, 2010]
- The number of Chinese traveling outside the country rose to 54% from 2005 to 2009 (to 47.7 million)…and “they spent more than French, Japanese or Canadian travelers.” [U.N. World Tourism Organization; Time Mag. “Your Next Job: Made in India or China” March 17, 2011]
I've been seeing more ATM and credit cards from Western companies creating content specifically for Chinese middle- to upper-class tourists. If you spot any other ads like this one from Citibank ATM, please share!