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Chinese Tourists Flock to Japan to Purchase Japanese Goods

Bringing a spirit of "buy, buy, buy" to Japan, Chinese tourists on Japanese are often accompanied with shopping bags of various sizes.
Bringing a spirit of "buy, buy, buy" to Japan, Chinese tourists on Japanese are often accompanied with shopping bags of various sizes.
Bringing a spirit of “buy, buy, buy” to Japan, Chinese tourists on Japanese streets are often accompanied with shopping bags of various sizes.

From NetEase:

Chinese Man Spends 200k to Buy Goods in Japan, Uses Shipping Container to Transport Them to China

“Why are so many people vacationing in Japan, my friend’s circle has become a circle Japanese tourism circle!” City resident Miss Chen’s biggest lamentation after the Spring Festival was: so many people going to Japan for vacation. This reporter learned that a lot of Chinese tourists headed to Japan this Spring Festival, and brought with them the spirit of “buy, buy, buy!”

According to a local Japanese television program, over the 10 days of Spring Festival, as many as 450k Chinese tourists went to Japan and spent nearly 6 billion RMB in shopping, ranging from thermos cups to luxury handbags, with the shelves of many shopping malls cleaned out.

Including purchase, shipping, and customs tariffs, spending 200k to ship back a “home”

“I was stunned at the time. I thought I would be collecting a package for him, but it turned out to be a small shipping container,” exclaimed white-collar Xu Dong (pseudonym) yesterday while talking about recently helping a friend collect the “fruits” of the mass purchases he shipped back from Japan. He told this reporter that this friend had asked him to help him by going to receive a shipment at Pudong International Airport, with the cargo being household appliances the friend had purchased in Japan throughout the Chinese New Year holiday.

He believes the price is still cheaper than purchasing domestically, and has more confidence in the quality.

It was only when Xu Dong arrived that he realized he was completely unprepared, because he would need a small cargo truck or van to transport the goods back, the merchandise having filled an entire small shipping container. “The container is probably used specifically for air freight, about 1.5 meters in height and width. I was stupefied,” he said recollecting. He no longer remembers the exact number of goods, but there were probably three television sets, two to three air conditioners, several speaker sets, as well as a refrigerator and some kitchen and bathroom appliances. “It also included the toilet seats that have been widely talked about these past few days, as well as air purifiers, etc.”

Xu Dong explained: “His friend has purchased a home and is furnishing it, and most of what he bought this time is for furnishing.” He continued that the goods shipped in this container were mostly household electrical appliances and fixtures. Xu Dong says using a shipping container was necessary, because there simply was too much cargo that could not be checked in as ordinary baggage. He told this reporter that using a shipping container of such a size required finding a shipping agent, that the cargo would have to go through import customs, and in addition to paying handling fees and freight fees, there was also a tariff of no small amount. “Just the handling fees and freight fees for this cargo cost 15k yuan.” Xu Dong says the cargo itself cost over 100k yuan, but adding in shipping expenses and customs duties, the total probably approaches 200k yuan. However, this friend still believes it was worth it, first for having saved money bypassing middlemen, the price still being cheaper than purchasing domestically, and he believes the quality of products purchased in Japan is more assured.

This reporter consulted two shipping agents yesterday and discovered they both provide air freight or sea freight services from Japan. “For us, it’s basically combining separate cargo into one shipment back to China, to pass through customs together,” said an employee. As it is understood, the air freight shipping containers most commonly used is the AKE container, sized at 156cm x 154cm x 163cm, with a capacity of 3.5 cubic meters and hold 1588 kg worth of goods, enough to accommodate the shipping needs for an individual’s large number of merchandise. However, this kind of service is not normally provided to individuals, as individuals normally go through shipping agents to have their cargo combined into one shipment before entering the importation process.

What Chinese tourists are clamoring to buy: thermos mugs, ceramic knives, toilet seats, and rice cookers.

Separately, Shanghai city resident Mr. Liu also took his family to Japan for Spring Festival, and even yesterday he was still battling in Tokyo’s Akihabara shopping mall. There, Mr. Liu saw that what Chinese tourists were clamoring to buy the most were Japan’s “Four Great Treasures”: thermos cups, ceramic knives, toilet seats, and rice cookers. He even compared prices and concluded that the price of Japanese goods sold in Japan was still nearly 1/3 cheaper than their prices domestically in China, with high-end products being particularly cheaper. For example, the final price for Tiger’s latest Goat Thermos Children’s Cup is approximately 356 yuan RMB in Japan, but is nearly 2x more expensive on Taobao at 680 yuan.

Analysis

Japanese Yen devaluing and relaxed visa policies, release of shopping demand during Spring Festival

How was it calculated that there were 450k Chinese tourists? This is based on our country’s official figures that there were a total of 5.19 million Chinese tourists that went abroad during this Spring Festival period, and of those 8.7% went to Japan. So then, how was the amount of money these 450k Chinese tourists spent in the Japanese market calculated? Referencing that Chinese tourists in 2014 January to March spent an average of 250k Japanese yen (approximately 13,000 yuan RMB) in consumption in Japan, 450k Chinese tourists’ consumption total would be 112.5 billion Japanese yen (approximately 6 billion yuan RMB). In actuality, because of there being multiple factors involved in this year’s Spring Festival, the average consumption of Chinese tourists this year may be even more than last year.

So then, why did Chinese tourists going to Japan for vacation and shopping reach a peak for this year’s Spring Festival? According to tourism industry insiders, it is due primarily to four factors.

Chinese tourists are increasingly going to Japan because of lower costs and relaxed visa policies.

One is that the Japanese yen has depreciated. At president, 100 Japanese yen is exchanged for 5.26 yuan RMB, devalued about 15% from last year. Compared to the 100 Japanese yen – 8 yuan RMB peak several years ago, it is comparable to being 35% cheaper. The same 10,000 yuan RMB could get nearly 40k more Japanese yen compared to several years ago, enough to cover the flight from Shanghai to Tokyo, therefore largely stimulating shopping demand.

Two is that Japan expanded the scope of tax-free goods in October of last year, with food and cosmetics being brought into the scope of being tax-free for foreigners, increasing shopping demand from those visiting Japan.

Three is that the Japanese government has loosened visa requirements for Chinese tourists visiting Japan, so that many city residents can very easily obtain three-year multi-entry visas, making visiting Japan easier than before.

Four is that flight costs have also dropped, especially due to international oil prices, so that fuel surcharges for flights (roundtrip) between China and Japan have been lowered approximately 200 yuan. As a result, Spring Airlines has even established a Sakura Cherry Blossom line, with a roundtrip ticket being just 1948 yuan including tax, so that one can visit Japan’s Hokkaido for less than 2000 yuan.

Comments from NetEase:

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我对毛澤東的爱永远不变 [网易上海市网友]:

Let’s take a count, those in support of Japanese goods, click [upvote].

网易湖南省岳阳市手机网友 ip:110.52.*.*

People going abroad to shop is not an embarrassment to our ordinary common people but to our [domestic] companies/products, our government regulatory departments. Here, even when it comes to a Tsingtao beer that costs several kuai, I have never drank a real one.

黑煞神 [网易云南省昭通市手机网友]:

Japanese people laugh without commenting.

叶傲天下 [网易福建省泉州市网友]:

No matter how you people boycott [Japanese goods], you can’t stop me from watching Sora Aoi or Yui Hatano’s videos.

网易山西省临汾市手机网友(60.221.*.*):

This is how pathetic some people are. Just what’s so great about Japanese good? How come we don’t hear of Japanese people shopping like this in China? Angry!

char52000305 [网易天津市手机网友]: (responding to above)

Are Japanese people crazy? What Japanese products aren’t better than Chinese counterparts? Do you only purchase inferior products and not good products? Are Japanese people supposed to not buy their own Toyota and instead come to China to buy BYD?

zm孤獨患者 [网易湖南省娄底市手机网友]:

And [the government] says it wants to stimulate domestic consumption, yet these days, just how many domestic products can consumers buy without worrying [about quality/safety]?

网易广东省广州市手机网友 ip:14.16.*.*

Wow, such a heavy sour grapes smell [referring to other comments reacting negatively to this phenomenon].

撸先进 [网易湖南省郴州市网友]:

Customs officials laugh, the year is half over and there are still people giving Chinese New Year presents, even by the shipping container!

网易江苏省南京市手机网友 ip:117.136.*.*

Retarded, those who share my view, ding this up.

救世主基督耶稣 [网易德国手机网友]:

What’s most embarrassing is that after packaging it all, shipping it back in a shipping container, and paying taxes, it is still cheaper than [if purchased] domestically… What are Japanese people’s incomes… what are Chinese people’s incomes…? Sigh.

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Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.

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