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The Chinese Have Come To Spend Some Of Their Trillions


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#1 punter

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 10:49 PM

So they come all the way here to spend their money on things that they exported to us?

That's very odd. The Chinese Communists should drop their taxes at home and they wouldn' have to come here. Of course that would be disastrous for our shopping based economy. Britain is trying to become the shopping destination of the world. Didn't Dubai try that? Didn't work out so well for them!

That's all we have left now of a once proud nation. Big buildings filled with imported goods and branded stores ready to cater to shopping tourists.

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Chinese takeaway

THOUSANDS of shoppers from China led a record-breaking Boxing Day sales frenzy yesterday.

Experts said a THIRD of bargain-hunters in London’s West End were super-rich tourists from the booming Far East nation.

Across the UK, an estimated 10million shoppers hit the sales — and spent a record £2.6billion.

The ‘Peking Pound’ accounted for £12million of the £50million sales at West End stores alone.

Chinese tourists on average spent £1,000 per transaction yesterday. High taxes on luxury goods in China make shopping in Britain attractive — where the goods are guaranteed to be genuine.

Last month the visa process for Chinese visitors was streamlined — making London a mecca for shoppers from the world’s fastest-growing economy. Many stores including Selfridges and John Lewis employ Mandarin-speakers and Debenhams has signs in Mandarin.

Key retailers now let visitors pay in the Chinese currency yuan. UnionPay — China’s version of Visa or Mastercard — has no spending limits.

China’s red-hot economy is creating hundreds of millions of new middle-class households — and London is their choice to shop. There are also more Chinese students staying in the UK.

West End stores’ spokesman Jace Tyrrell said last night: “The Peking Pound has been the big story. The Chinese can get products here they cannot get anywhere else.

Among the growing Chinese middle classes, shopping in London is a must-do. It is as vital as seeing Big Ben.”

A quarter of a million Chinese tourists visited the UK this year, splashing out nearly £300million in West End stores.

Some 800,000 people flocked to the West End yesterday — up a third on last year — despite a Tube strike.

Flagship store Selfridges reported its most successful first hour of trade ever — taking £1.5million. Fashion items were best-sellers, with technology also flying off the shelves, retail chiefs said.

Richard Brown, of Global Blue, said: “Last year, Boxing Day helped fuel a 49 per cent increase in the number of transactions year on year from these luxury-focused international shoppers.

“The most popular purchases are expected to include designer handbags and fashion items — with an increasing appetite for premium beauty brands.

“With average spend per transaction for both Chinese and Middle Eastern shoppers at well over £1,000, their impact will be hugely valuable to this sales season.”

Elsewhere in Britain, the number of shoppers was up 21 per cent on Boxing Day 2011.

The Bullring Shopping Centre in BIRMINGHAM saw 230,000 customers — with another 150,000 expected today. Hundreds of shoppers started queuing at 1am on the streets outside to ensure they nabbed a bargain.

The Trafford Centre in MANCHESTER had its busiest Boxing Day ever with police drafted in to help manage the 200,000 visitors.

The Bluewater shopping centre in GREENHITHE, Kent, saw about 120,000 visitors with queues forming at 1am.

In CARDIFF, the city’s St David’s 2 shopping centre welcomed 150,000 visitors. In PETERBOROUGH 550 people queued outside Next at the Queensgate Centre before it opened at 6am.

Retailers slashed prices and opened their doors at dawn in a bid to entice shoppers in and compete with online rivals who had already begun offering heavy discounts.

Credit rating analysts Experian said UK internet users made 107million visits to retail websites on Christmas Day — and 126million visits were predicted for Boxing Day.

Read more: http://www.thesun.co...l#ixzz2GIN1tfun

#2 billybong

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 10:59 PM

Indeed it seems a bit of a daft system for them to make the tat and then send it to the UK and then they travel to the UK to buy that same tat (in a frenzy as the newspapers so often put it) and then they take the same tat back home.

Edited by billybong, 27 December 2012 - 11:04 PM.


#3 200p

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 11:04 PM

I don't get it. When I visited Guangzhou you had similar big shopping malls, with your similar John Lewis/Debenhams with your high end Channel No5 fragrances, high end genuine Rolex watches, expensive clothes (£100 GBP shirts - completely unaffordable for those earning typically £250 a month ) etc. I think it is just a holiday outing for the millionaire factory owners and their families. I believe it is a complete fallacy that they can't buy the same stuff over there. Think ebay/online retailers that can sell from here back to China.

Edited by MrTReturns, 27 December 2012 - 11:11 PM.

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#4 StainlessSteelCat

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 11:18 PM

Agreed. Even if you couldn't get it in China, there's plenty of alternative shopping destinations that are closer than London. Tokyo, KL and Singapore spring to mind, for example.

I suspect they just like coming to the UK. Despite our problems, we are relatively stable, free, welcoming, low tax (for foreign visitors) and have lots of interesting history.

Edited by StainlessSteelCat, 27 December 2012 - 11:19 PM.

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#5 theonlywayisdown

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 11:36 PM

they are coming over here to buy high end luxury goods. Many might already be (loaded) students already here.

Stuff like Gucci, Louis Vutton, etc. is at a higher price in asia, if you go to the shopping malls there. The kind of stuff thats not made in China, unless you're talking about the fake stuff

#6 Ruffneck

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Posted 27 December 2012 - 11:50 PM

Lol i don't think it's middle class doing this shopping andd spending 1000 pound per pop is it?
This is upper class Chinese.Mid class chinese only earn USD7000 per year.
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#7 Dave Beans

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 12:09 AM

http://www.guardian....ve-clarks-shoes

Buckingham Palace. Bath. Stonehenge. Clarks Village. The final destination may not trip off the tongue, but, this spring, organised bus-loads of Chinese tourists will start to pull up in the small town of Street to satisfy the Chinese appetite for the classic sensible British shoe.

The arrival of the big-spending tourists at Clarks Village, standing on the once derelict site of the old Clarks shoe factory in Somerset, a county usually bypassed by holidaymakers hurtling towards the familiar delights of Devon and Cornwall, is particularly exciting for local tourism bosses. The factory shopping centre, which sells a range of discounted goods from high street brands including Clarks, Next, Nike and Monsoon, is the leading free attraction in the West Country, drawing 4.1 million visitors each year. Boarded- up high streets may be a depressing feature of this economic downturn but in Clarks Village, which opened in 1993, all 95 shops are occupied.

This under-the-radar success could teach other communities useful lessons about redevelopment and economic revival through tourism, but it is also replete with bitter ironies. Apart from lending its name to the shopping centre, Clarks, the biggest shoe brand in the world, has little to do with the success of Clarks Village. Its shoes are in fact now made in China, India, Brazil and Vietnam but not in Britain, after the site and the Village brand was sold. So the Chinese are flying to the site where Clarks used to make shoes to buy shoes that are actually made in China and sold in a shopping centre not owned by Clarks. This is globalisation's very own coals- to-Newcastle.

Clarks started making shoes in Street in 1825 when James Clark realised he and his brother, Cyrus, could make slippers from the offcuts of their sheepskin rug business. Still in private hands, with ownership spread among descendants of the family dynasty, Clarks now boasts a global turnover of £1.17bn, and sells shoes in 160 countries. It is known for its sturdy, comfy adult footwear and sensible, well-fitting children's shoes. But the desert boot (now branded, alongside other designs such as the Wallabee, as a Clarks Original) continues to have classic appeal, and is particularly popular among musicians. Florence Welch, Nick Cave, Bob Dylan, Dizzee Rascal and Robbie Williams have all been spotted wearing them, while Jamaican dancehall star Vybz Kartel has even written three songs in praise of Clarks. Most of the company's shops are in the UK and North America but this year it is expanding in key markets, particularly in Germany and Holland. It is also stepping up in China, which saw a 22% increase in business in the 12 months to February 2010. This year, Clarks will add 100 new stores to its 1,000 around the world, including its first in India.

Street would be an unremarkable little place were it not for Millfield, the public school based in the old Clark family mansion, and Clarks, which physically and emotionally dominates the town. The company still has its headquarters here, by the old factory chimney that towers over the industrial buildings; murals on walls celebrate the shoemakers; the slightly run-down high street is dwarfed by the shopping village next door. Locals point out the two swimming pools and theatre built with Clarks's largesse.

By the standards of modern malls, Clarks Village is lovely, even on the bleakest of March days. Its paved, pedestrian streets possess a patina of history and its shops are placed around a quaint square, a carousel and stalls from which waft the aroma of fried onions and hot chocolate. When Jeff Banks opened his shop here, he compared it, not completely outlandishly, to London's Covent Garden. Come April, the Village will be even prettier thanks to an influx of hanging baskets.

But it is still just a shopping centre. "Factory" or "outlet" shopping arrived in Britain from the United States, peddling end-of-line wares from high-street chain stores. Clarks Village's big brand names must, according to their leases, sell discounted, remaindered items (although, increasingly, major retailers produce "made for outlet" items). While I can't see any Clarks' Originals in its shop, there are some good shoes; the stock in other stores looks much like any ordinary shopping centre.

Tsung Chen and Zarni Chen, both 33, originally from Taiwan and now living in Surrey, have come here for a day trip. Why not go closer to home, to Oxford Street or Bluewater in Kent? "It's quiet and the air is very fresh here," says Chen. "It's easier to shop, with very convenient parking. The prices are cheap and it's good quality."

So far, Chinese visitors to Clarks Village tend to be expats or holidaymakers visiting their children at nearby boarding schools. But organised groups of Chinese tourists will arrive on test tours next month. "I'm confident it will become quite popular very quickly," says Stephanie Cheng, managing director of China Holidays, a London-based tour operator for Chinese tourists.

Cheng has been courted by the Somerset Tourism Association, which is keen to attract tourists from abroad. Tourism brings £1bn in turnover and 33,000 jobs to the county but Somerset pulls in just 0.5% of the UK's international holiday market.

John Turner, the association's director, is also deputy manager at Clarks Village. His ambition is for the Village to become the number one tourist attraction outside London – ahead of Alton Towers and Blackpool Tower – and he outlines his vision in enthusiastic, if rather corny, marketing-speak. "We're seeing this as one of the big jewels in Somerset's crown, and we need to accentuate and develop that strategy. It's very consumer- centric. We need to start positioning Somerset as a brand. It's going to be a long hard slog."

He goes on: "We have Clarks as an international brand, we have Cheddar, the gorge and the cheese, and we have the likes of Joseph of Arimathea, who is supposed to have come to Glastonbury with the cup of Christ. We've got King Arthur, who is said to be buried in Glastonbury Abbey. We've got Glastonbury festival. These are all huge international names, but for some reason Somerset doesn't have the credibility it should have."

Turner is well aware of the irony of the origin of his shopping centre's wares but believes UK retailers have a special credibility with Chinese visitors. "There's so much counterfeit in the Chinese market that they don't trust their own shops," he says. The riddle of why the Village can sell Clarks to China may be primarily about price. Cheng, however, dismisses the counterfeit theory and says it is mostly "silver aged" visitors with an eye for a bargain. Shoes that cost nearly £100 in China sell in Clarks Village for less than £40. (There are stories, perhaps apocryphal, of tourists buying 20 pairs at a time, reclaiming the cost of their air fare in savings.) "We're talking about a really good discount," says Cheng. Clarks Village also offers a leaflet explaining how tourists can claim back 14% of VAT, with the help of experts in tax-free shopping.

For Ronald Jim, 44, a shopper at Clarks Village who grew up in Bristol's Chinese community, the desire of Chinese tourists to buy Chinese-made European labels in Europe is more about status. "It is very much like the Japanese. Those who have got money like to travel and buy things from the western world. A lot of those people wouldn't care whether it was made in China or not – they've left the country, gone out, been on holiday and they've bought something from afar. It's the label. It's the brand. It's a status symbol to buy things in Europe."

How long can this British nation of shopkeepers trade on the status conferred by its history without actually making the things it sells? The replacement of factories with factory shopping in Street has certainly seen the status of jobs fall.

Brian Chorley, 72, is the last surviving employee from the Clarks shoe factory who still works in the Village. He started there when he left school aged 14 in 1953. "Everyone went to Clarks. If you went to a job interview you were guaranteed to come out with a job." He began by cleaning sandals on a conveyor belt for 49 shillings (£2.45) a week. After paying his mother's keep, Chorley had a whole pound note in his pocket. "I thought to myself, I'm rich," he recalls.

Promoted to a cutter, Chorley performed a highly skilled, well-paid job on a production line that made 37,000 pairs of shoes a week. "The more you cut and the more leather you saved, the more money you earned," he says.

It is easy to be nostalgic for the time when Britain made more things but Chorley recognises that, while Clarks was an excellent employer, his factory days were not paradise. The mechanical presses "were absolutely lethal," he remembers. "Of all the cutters only two or three people had all their fingers and thumbs."

His job has now been downgraded to the unskilled one of picking up rubbish and recycling. But he still "loves it" at Clarks Village. "I get a lot of pleasure and satisfaction picking up all the cardboard and polythene that used to be thrown away," he beams.

Chorley brings up the closure of Clarks's British factories unprompted. "As the years went by, they said they were going to put a factory in Portugal. We said, 'They can't make shoes in Portugal, that's never going to happen.' The next thing we heard, a Clarks' factory was shutting down. Bit by bit they all shut and now Clarks shoes are made all over the world, and they reckon they are making more money than ever because of the low wages." The last Clarks factory in Britain closed in 2005.

Why did the company shut its British factories? "We felt that the time was right, plus we had a growing confidence in the quality outside of the UK in terms of manufacturing," says a spokesperson. "There was also a need to compete on a global scale with other manufacturers."

Clarks Village employs 1,000 people, and Clarks head office still houses its design, marketing, branding, retail, finance and IT teams. In accordance with its Quaker roots, Clarks involves itself in good deeds, from raising $1m for the Soul of Africa, a charity for HIV orphans established by ex-managing director Lance Clark, to helping conserve the rare Large Blue butterfly in the hills close to Street. "It may fly in the face of the industry norm but a key part of our character comes from where we are and is what makes us unique, and we're proud to celebrate this," says its spokesperson.

Memories of the anger when Clarks closed its factories across the West Country still linger in Street. Chorley describes the town as "very depressed" when Clarks shut. "There was always going to be a certain amount of anger," he says. Did local people welcome the factory shops replacing the factories? "Most people are accepting of it, yes, but you don't have a lot of good jobs locally," says Deanne Silmon, secretary of the Street Society. "Clarks Village is good for the town but the employment it produces is not particularly well paying. But it is certainly better than no industry at all."

Chorley feels it is futile to agonise over what has been lost. He enjoys the work he has now and still treasures his memories. "The noise and the activity cutting leather," he sighs. "Now it's all Venetian blinds and computers, but the building is exactly the same. That's how things go."


Edited by Dave Beans, 28 December 2012 - 12:11 AM.

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#8 TriceratopsKitchen

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 12:31 AM

I've started manufacturing top quality organic goat leather handbags for my brand "Veh Relfy".
If I sell 700,000 a week I might be able to afford a bedsit.

#9 saving since 2005

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 12:31 AM

I live in the west end, and white people were in the minority on boxing day.

#10 TriceratopsKitchen

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 12:38 AM

I live in the west end, and white people were in the minority on boxing day.


Outshopped by the Kanakas? Rum business.

#11 billybong

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 12:40 AM

Shoes that cost nearly £100 in China sell in Clarks Village for less than £40. (There are stories, perhaps apocryphal, of tourists buying 20 pairs at a time, reclaiming the cost of their air fare in savings.) "We're talking about a really good discount," says Cheng. Clarks Village also offers a leaflet explaining how tourists can claim back 14% of VAT, with the help of experts in tax-free shopping.

For Ronald Jim, 44, a shopper at Clarks Village who grew up in Bristol's Chinese community, the desire of Chinese tourists to buy Chinese-made European labels in Europe is more about status. "It is very much like the Japanese. Those who have got money like to travel and buy things from the western world. A lot of those people wouldn't care whether it was made in China or not – they've left the country, gone out, been on holiday and they've bought something from afar. It's the label. It's the brand. It's a status symbol to buy things in Europe."


I imagine in the not too distant future the Chinese will realise they can make shoes locally even better than Clarks (free of UK tax and all) at a fraction of the price and then they can come to the UK as tourists and not have to buy 20 pairs of shoes.

Just walk around and admire the views etc and have a Chinese meal - there's not that many outlets left for a variety of British cooking these days along with the ever present paninis and all etc.

Ok they could still come to the UK and buy Chinese tat in London in the souvenir shops.

#12 alexw

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 12:42 AM

I live in the west end, and white people were in the minority on boxing day.


We need to let more Russian billionaires and mafia types into the UK then.

#13 MRMX9

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 12:51 AM

Agreed. Even if you couldn't get it in China, there's plenty of alternative shopping destinations that are closer than London. Tokyo, KL and Singapore spring to mind, for example.

I suspect they just like coming to the UK. Despite our problems, we are relatively stable, free, welcoming, low tax (for foreign visitors) and have lots of interesting history.



Exactly - why not go to Singapore. All themain British chains/designer outlets operate there - and they even sell winter clothing for the visitors/expats even though it never gets colder than 27 degrees centigrade even at night.

Saying that I was at Westfield in Stratford yesterday (as the taxi driver) - the majority of the people in the Mulberry queue were Chinese too. Not only are they shopping in the west end - they are also bulk buying in east London!

#14 zugzwang

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 01:08 AM

Who let the Wongs out?

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#15 Chuffy Chuffnell

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Posted 28 December 2012 - 01:08 AM

It's good to know that the Chinese are even more stupid and consumerist than we are.

God help the Communist party. What have they unleashed... :lol: :lol:




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