The Chinese tourists culture of souvenir gifts

The China Tourism Academy forecasts that there will be 116 million Chinese outbound travelers who are expected to spend $155 billion for the whole year of 2014. The international shopping measurement specialists calculated than 90% of Chinese travelers budget is spent on shopping. Most of them spend an average of 1,460 euros per purchase. But these purchases are not only for the tourists themselves… In fact, going on a trip abroad is a symbol of success and in Chinese culture, offering gifts to relatives or business partners is then a social requirement. So that it is pretty common for the Chinese who line up in front of boutiques abroad, to do so but not only for their personal shopping but also to shop gifts for their relatives!

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Why do they buy abroad?

China imposes high taxes on luxury goods imported from abroad. So it’s cheaper for the Chinese to buy these kinds of goods outside their home country. So much so that the Chinese government forecasts a tourist spending deficit of $ 100 billion in 2014. This deficit is due to the fact that more and more Chinese people spend their money while traveling abroad and instead fewer foreign tourists stay in China and therefore fewer of them spend money on the Chinese soil.

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In addition to high taxes, the Chinese do not trust the authenticity of the product purchased in China. Indeed, in the countries where counterfeiting reigns, there are even counterfeit products on the shelves of the authentic shops of the luxurious brands. That’s why last year Louis Vuitton and Gucci announced that they would not open anymore stores in China.

What gifts?

The gifts that the Chinese bring back to their families are extremely well chosen. In fact in China the gift that you offer usually represents the value of your relationship you have with the person to whom you give this gift. So this gift has a significant meaning. Its price also important, the higher it is the better it gives face to the person that buys it or receives it. In fact, the price is related to the face because it expresses that the person has reached a certain social status.

So the Chinese prefer gifts from very notorious brands whose products are expensive. The top international brands such as range Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton or Burberry therefore benefit greatly from the gift culture in China. The biggest categories where Chinese are spending  to buy gifts abroad, whether it is to offer men or women are the following: clothing, leather goods, perfumes, jewelry and cosmetics.


To Chinese, labor relations come just after personal relationships in terms of importance. It is therefore natural that they also bring back gifts for their business partners in their suitcases. Offering gifts in the business world is a tradition in China, it helps preserves good relations.

In this case they prefer to offer bottles of red wine and other spirits of the country they have been visiting, it is very well seen since this kind of bottles is also heavily taxed in China. Boxes of tea, pieces of arts and culinary specialties of the country they visited will also be appreciated by business partners of Chinese tourists traveling abroad.

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The gift has a very important place in Chinese culture, so bringing back gifts of great value to family and business partners  in China is a social requirement that they cannot avoid. The shops of high-end products therefore have a bright future ahead of them, even outside of China.

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