China / Society

Luring shoppers home with quality

By Zheng Xin and Ma Si in Beijing,Zheng Caixiong in Guangzhou (China Daiy) Updated: 2016-02-29 02:49

Demand for overseas goods creates potential

Luring shoppers home with quality

An employee for Japanese company Sanrio displays a prototype model of a Hello Kitty branded toilet seat at Sanrio's headquarters in Tokyo on February 2, 2015. The toilet seat has seat heating and warm water shower functions. [Photo/CFP]

Chinese shoppers' predilection for overseas products, as evidenced by the numbers who buy daily necessities abroad during the Spring Festival break, signals huge opportunities for domestic companies endeavoring to make better quality products.

The mainlanders on vacation in Japan spent billions of yuan on household goods such as toilet lids and rice cookers, as well as basic products such as shampoo and toothpaste.

Some people, such as Victor Chan, managing director of Daming United Rubber Products in Guangzhou, Guangdong province, blame the trend on Chinese people's blind worship of foreign commodities. He believes many products made on the Chinese mainland are now world-class, equal to any foreign competitor.

However, Cai Jun, a 28-year-old bank clerk in Beijing, thinks differently. She spent Chinese New Year in Tokyo, where she picked up a rice cooker, an item that is available in any Chinese supermarket.

"The rice cooker I bought enjoys a good reputation in China. Many of my friends told me Japanese rice cookers have a special technology," she said.

Wang Qing, who visits Japan each year to buy everyday products, traveled to Kyoto for Spring Festival. "I'm not crazy about foreign brands," she said, "but the quality of many Chinese products means they are just not worth the price. Also, toothpaste made in Japan is double or triple the price in a Chinese supermarket."

Her shopping list this year also included daily necessities that can be commonly found in most Chinese stores, including thermoflasks, blood pressure monitors, skin cream, multivitamins and breakfast cereal. "I stock up on necessities on my annual trip to Japan," Wang added. "It means I don't have to worry about product quality, while the price difference saves me the cost of a round-trip ticket."

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