Chinese travelers huge biz opportunities to Europe

Updated: 2013-03-09 11:25


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For instance, travel agencies should do things in the Chinese way by starting to provide brochures and signs in Chinese, Arlt said.

"Even if the tourists understand local language, they would still think 'If you have a sign in German or Spanish, why don't you have one in Chinese?'" he said. "The Chinese tourists will rightly demand more attention to them, forcing local tourism industry to learn how to treat Chinese travelers the way they like."

Travelling investors

"Facing skyrocketing property prices in China and restrictions on buying multiple properties in major Chinese cities, more and more wealthy Chinese are seeking overseas investment opportunities, " said Adam Wu of China Business Network London. "Most Chinese individual outbound investment focuses on real estate as a way to diversify their investment portfolio."

Real estate investors from China set their eyes on not only high-end property like French vineyards and Spanish beach houses, but also city apartments for children studying abroad, according to the COTRI. They see the European market as a stable and investment-friendly market.

"Education and property are the two main investments in China, and they are connected," Arlt said.

He said a lot of Chinese friends bought apartments in the European cities where their kids are going to study, as the prices are cheap to them and their children will have a place to stay.

As investment from China is increasing strongly, many big European real estate companies have been setting up offices in China, Arlt said, adding that companies have even started producing 3-dimension simulation of the properties for potential Chinese buyers to virtually visit the house on the internet.

"In some European markets, Chinese people and Russian people are now the most important buyers, especially in the upper-end of the market," he said.

Without the Chinese and Russian buyers, the prices for expensive real estate in places like London and Pairs would have been going down, he added.

These Chinese private investors are welcomed by local governments in Europe as a positive force in supporting local economy and employment. In Britain, many government agencies and enterprises have set up special China desks to deal with China-related affairs and help Chinese investors overcome language and cultural barriers, Adam Wu said.

"Many countries actively encourage Chinese investment," Arlt said, citing the example that property purchase at a certain level in some countries can pave the way for getting resident visa for a period of time during which the investors can go in and out of the country as often as they want.

Gerd Schwander, mayor of Germany city Oldenburg, welcomed Chinese investors to Germany as there are plenty of investment opportunities.

Speaking at a workshop on Chinese outbound foreign direct investment during the ongoing Berlin International Tourism Fair, Schwander lamented the lack of "China Desks" in German local governments to facilitate Chinese investment.

In order to attract Chinese investment and business partners, it is crucial for investment destinations to convey their message in Chinese and reach the senior business decision makers, Adam Wu said.

"The more Chinese investors know about the destination and the investment opportunities with positive impression, the more likely they are to invest," Wu said. "Targeted marketing is the key."

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