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Chinese shoppers outspend Japanese abroad
Updated: 2005-05-26 08:45

Chinese now outspend Japanese on overseas shopping trips, blowing an average of US$987 on designer clothes, cosmetics and other items each time they go abroad, according to a recent survey.

Rising incomes and loosened government restrictions allowed 29 million Chinese to travel overseas in 2004, a 43 percent increase over the year before, according to the survey released last week by market research firms ACNielsen and Tax Free World Association.

Although Chinese spent less altogether on their overseas trips than Japanese travelers, they splurged more at the shops, accounting for about 30 percent of their total spending, the survey showed.

While the spending figures may be good news for foreign retailers, they are far from representative of China's 1.3 billion people as a whole.

About 800 million Chinese still live in the countryside, where incomes linger at a few hundred dollars a year and foreign travel is all but unheard of.

Of those who did go abroad, 69 percent were women and 36 percent were in their 20s — groups with the largest disposable incomes and the most extravagant spending habits of all Chinese.

"They are more likely to shop and the younger travelers are more willing to try new things and are brand conscious," Murphy said.

However, those visiting European countries that were opened as official tourism destinations last year spent the most — an average of US$1,781 per person per trip, the survey said.

It said fashion, cosmetics and candies were the top three purchases by Chinese visitors, a contrast to European travelers who spent the most on alcohol, perfume and tobacco products.

Experts said Chinese travelers tended to spend less on hotel rooms and food.

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