The influence of Chinese tourists and consumers will be so great that in the next few years it will become normal for leading shops in the UK and USA to stock and accept Chinese currency, an academic has predicted in a new book.,/p>
Dr Karl Gerth of Oxford University’s Faculty of History has studied the growing worldwide influence of the Chinese consumers in difficult economic times, and has predicted that more major UK and US brands will soon come under Chinese ownership.
Dr Gerth is the author of ‘As China Goes, So Goes the World: How Chinese Consumers Are Transforming Everything’, which is based on five years of research and the author’s experience of China since his first visit as a student in 1986.
Dr Gerth of Merton College said: ‘Already shops on Bond Street are accepting renminbi from Chinese tourists and in years to come the tastes and desires of Chinese consumers will have to be at the forefront of every successful shop owner’s commercial considerations.
‘Many Chinese want Western experiences and lifestyles, and these desires are fuelled by intensive advertising. During my travels in rural China, I asked an innkeeper near the Tibetan border if he\’d ever heard of KFC – he pointed to his television and told me that not only is he familiar with all these American brands, but he successfully convinced his daughter to leave home and move a six-hour bus ride away, simply by promising her she\’d finally get to go to a KFC!
‘With China’s huge population and spending power, it is no surprise that big firms are bending over backwards to meet the demands of the Chinese consumer.
This process works both ways, Dr Gerth said, and China’s acquisition of Western firms has established them as the world’s next branding superpower.
‘China doesn\’t simply want to buy Western goods – Chinese want to create internationally competitive brands of their own, and if they can\’t spread brands which originated in China around the world, the natural alternative is to seek to take over brands which are already established,’ Dr Gerth said.
‘China is the world’s next branding superpower – recent takeovers of MG Rover and Volvo by Chinese companies are just the tip of the iceberg, some of the most established brands in the world will come under Chinese ownership in years to come, and it will be interesting to see what impact this has on the brands.
‘Simply put, for all the West’s concerns about China, our economy needs Chinese consumers to continue to adopt Western lifestyles in order to keep our own economy afloat.
‘Chinese want experiences like studying and higher education, especially overseas in the UK or America. They are interested in leisure travel, and we\’re just beginning to see a huge number of Chinese tourists travelling all over the world.
‘With China’s huge population and spending power, it is no surprise that big firms are bending over backwards to meet the demands of the Chinese consumer.\’
If you were shocked when MG Rover became a Chinese company, just wait a few years
A recent study by Tourism Economics found that the Chinese made 3.67 million passenger trips to Europe last year, an increase of 15.8% on the 3.17 million in 2009. Chinese package tours to Britain are expected to include luxury shopping.
Dr Gerth added: \’The exact number of British companies being taken over by Chinese firms it unknown, but whatever the number, it will be a lot higher in the next few years. Remember: the global community has been demanding the Chinese appreciate their currency for the last few years by up to 20%. Suddenly British assets will be up to 20% cheaper. If you were shocked when MG Rover became a Chinese company, just wait a few years.’