A visit to the stores where the sky is no limit

By Xu Lin ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-11-28 07:29:51

Her overseas jaunts have become much easier over the years, thanks to relaxed visa policies in some countries and the plethora of flights now available, she says.

However, when people like Yu head overseas with money to spend - and often to buy what they want rather than what they need - it is money that is not going into the tills of Chinese retailers. As a result, some upmarket brands have resorted to cutting prices to match those of their overseas rivals.

In April, Chanel cut the prices of three of its classic handbags in China by about 20 percent and bumped up its prices in Europe by about the same, leaving a price difference of 5 percent on average. The move was squarely aimed at undercutting those who make a living by daigou, buying goods abroad and selling them in China.

"Those goods are still cheaper in Europe because travelers get tax refunds," Yu says.

However, with these price cuts, many of the Chinese who earlier would not have thought twice about shopping overseas will now be having second thoughts, she says, although she is not one of them.

Another thing that attracts her to shopping abroad is that the service is almost always superior to what she gets in China, she says, citing cosmetics sales staff in particular, who are highly professional and seem to be well attuned to her needs.

Like many Chinese mothers, she buys a lot of foreign goods for her daughter, 4, such as feeding bottles because she believes the quality is better than anything made in China.

Chiang Jeongwen, a professor of marketing at China Europe International Business School, says: "Chinese tourists mainly used to buy luxury brands, but now they are buying items of daily use, too, because they regard foreign-made goods as better, so more and more ordinary people are traveling overseas."

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