Welcome to this week’s China Ready Now Round-Up.
The last week has been one to forget for James Packer. His China strategy for Crown Resorts has been thrown into chaos with the detaining of 18 employees in China, in what is believed to be part of a crackdown on foreign casinos marketing on the mainland. While details are still sketchy, it is a strong reminder to Australian businesses that doing business in China involves playing by strict rules.
Observers note that there could be implications for Packer’s Barangaroo development and competitor The Star Entertainment Group’s casinos. Both companies are focusing their targets on attracting high-rollers from overseas, particularly from China. Crown derives around 12% of group revenues from Chinese VIPs, and has noted that Chinese VIPs made up half of the company’s total high rollers.
Crown boasts that one in four Chinese tourists visit Crown’s Melbourne casino when in town, and it is undoubtedly hoping for more of the same in Sydney when it finally opens shop in 2021. But with all the media attention this past week on Crown’s latest setback, you would think the only thing Chinese come to Australia to do is gamble!
And that is far from the case! Based on research by Tourism Research Australia, visiting casinos is the 15th most popular activity for “free and independent” Chinese travellers that come to NSW. More Chinese FITs visit farms than casinos during their time in Australia!
The lastest Crown incident highlights why Australian tourism leaders should continue to broaden how Australia is marketed to Chinese tourists, as well as the opportunities available to tour operators in a range of sectors. It is also a strong reminder for all businesses to make sure your China-strategy aligns with the Chinese government’s objectives. What does that mean exactly? To find out, get in touch with us for a free consultation.
We hope you enjoy this week’s Round-Up.
- Crown’s high-roller plan for Barangaroo threatened (paywall): Crown’s business model, which focuses on attracting high-rollers from overseas, particularly China, has been thrown a curve-ball by the recent detaining of 18 China-based employees. See also “The question Mike Baird could soon be asking James Packer” and “James Packer’s Barangaroo is under threat as China plays hardball“
- China becomes biggest Australian wine importer, overtaking US: China has for the first time overtaken the United States to become the biggest importer of Australian wine by value amid an increasing interest in the drink and the culture surrounding it among the Chinese middle class.
- Chinese couples flocking to Uluru for wedding photos (paywall): A deal involving Parks Australia will allow Chinese couples to visit Uluru to take lavish pre-wedding photo shoots around the rock. Chinese tourist numbers to Uluru have surged from about 1000 five years ago to more than 7500 for FY 2016.
- Daigou sellers fear being pushed out of the market by big Australian brands: “Daigou” have made their fortunes reselling Aussie products to keen customers in China, but now that brands have cottoned on to their success, they appear keen to push them out of the process.
- As Thailand Mourns, the Chinese Tourism Industry Tries to Find Best Course of Action for Trips to Thailand: Following the king of Thailand’s recent passing, China’s tourism industry is scrambling to find suitable arrangements for tours scheduled in the 30-day period of mourning that follows his passing.
- Survey: More Than 70% of Chinese Tourists Will Use a Travel App to Book Vacations: Chinese travelers are keen on using apps when planning and booking trips, and their willingness to embrace technology is much more widespread than in Australia, Europe or the United States.
- Cartoon Figures Help Attract Chinese Customers in Airline Market: Themed flights are becoming common in China’s airline market. Japan Airlines has been using Doraemon to attract passengers to its Shanghai – Tokyo route, while Eastern Airlines arranged Disney themed flights after Shanghai Disneyland opened. Other examples include Kung Fu Panda and Paul Frank themed flights.