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12 Ways To Understand the Chinese Traveller

Jan 7 2014, 6:46am CST | by

12 Ways To Understand the Chinese Traveller

Photo Credit: Forbes
 
 

“All the ripping down of the old and throwing up of the new across China today cannot be explained as a matter of economic necessity alone. It is too frantic to be considered so simply. The visible Chinese project is, among much else, a signifier of an almost compulsive psychological urge to self-reinvent – to make ‘being Chinese’ mean something new.” (Patrick Smith: Somebody Else’s Century, East and West in a Post-Western World 2010:23)

Chinese travellers, especially when venturing beyond the Confucian world of Greater China and Southeast Asia, are part of the “Chinese project” Smith describes, or as Chairman Xi Jinping calls it, the “Chinese dream”. To treat them the same way as your average sun-seeker will miss the point. Let me share with you twelve ways of avoiding pitfalls in perceiving the new visitors from the Middle Kingdom:

1) Don’t think holidays – do think investment – social, psychological, financial, in techne as well as in episteme

2) Don’t believe in averages – do think Gini coefficient – almost all Chinese are much too poor to travel internationally

3) Don’t underestimate knowledge about your product – do understand where the knowledge comes from – and try to influence it

4) Don’t target “the Chinese market” – do decide carefully which segments of the market are resonating with your offer

5) Don’t miss out on personal presence – do travel to China, attend fairs, meet, talk, dine

6) Don’t think Facebook – do use Weibo and WeChat in the Chinese way

7) Don’t think websites – do think posts and User Generated Content

8) Don’t think English – do communicate in Chinese not because of necessity but out of respect

9) Don’t think marketing – do think product adaptation first and foremost

10) Don’t think discount – do think additional services and treats for the same price

11) Don’t think not worthwhile – do understand that niche markets in China are still big

12) Don’t trust your experience – do think constant change and need to question common wisdom and need to get advise

Source: Forbes

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