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Catering for Chinese consumers at Lunar New Year and beyond

Australian businesses are becoming more attuned to Chinese consumers, and more astute at attracting their market share. Chadstone Shopping Centre in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs is a shining example of how to tap into the lucrative Chinese tourist market.
Chinese New Year, or Lunar New Year, seems to become more prominent in Australia every year. In the broader Australian community, people celebrate with colourful lion dancers and lanterns parading through the streets and packed-out restaurants in China town.
 
For mainland Chinese people, shopping is an important new year tradition, symbolising renewal and a fresh start. Travelling is also increasingly popular among China’s growing middle class. Vicinity’s Chadstone Shopping Centre is well across this trend, with Spend and Receive promotions, partnerships with inbound tourism operators and advertising on Chinese social media.
 
Their mission is clear, with Chadstone promoting itself as a place to shop (in over 550 stores), dine (at nearly 100 restaurants), play (featuring attractions such as Legoland) and stay (Hotel Chadstone, under the MGallery by Sofitel banner, opened in November 2019). While a significant amount of their customers are still traditional mall-dwellers, locals doing their groceries, they also target the retail tourism market and have increased their offering of luxury retail brands, popular among Chinese students studying in Australia.
 
They have made a concerted effort to cater to their Chinese guests. They have information available in Traditional and Simplified Chinese in hotels across Melbourne, online and in the centre, as well as multi-lingual concierge staff. They have a free return shuttle from Melbourne’s city centre, dropping them to Chadstone’s visitor lounge.
 
They promote themselves on Chinese social media (follow this link to read about which apps do what). They also encourage their retailers to make popular Chinese payment methods available such as UnionPay, Alipay and WeChat Pay.
 
And they are reaping the benefits. In 2018, 26 percent of Chinese overnight visitors to Victoria went to Chadstone. That was a ten percent increase on 2017, showing that, despite city-central shopping centres being more popular with Chinese tourists, they are increasing their market share.
 
It’s a fantastic example of a business capitalising on targeting different ethnic groups and making the most of multilingual communication (learn more about the advantages of catering to the cultural needs of different ethnic groups from Lexigo CEO Mark Saba).

Happy Chinese Lunar Year!

About Chinese New Year 2021
 
This lunar year marks the year of the ox and is celebrated on February 12th, 2021 although celebrations start as early February 4th and end on the last day of the Lantern Festival held on the 26th of February. For more information, visit https://chinesenewyear.net/

Written by Sophia Dickinson, LEXIGO: Sophia is a writer and communications consultant with 10 years’ experience in the public service and not-for-profit sectors. She has also taught English in France and spent a year working at a local NGO in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. She is passionate about writing, intercultural communication and languages (she speaks French, Indonesian and is learning Spanish). Read more about her experiences here.