Comrades number 1

GEARING up local traders to cater for Chinese tourists has been singled out as a priority by Perth city council.

China is our fifth largest source of tourists, but Chinese outspend Brits, Malays, Singaporeans and New Zealanders by such a margin that Tourism WA ranks China as the number one spender.

WeChat

PCC staff have recommended commissioners provide $15,000 in funding for three free “China Host” training sessions at the city library to teach 50 small to medium businesses and tourism operators to “get your business China ready.”

Run by the Australian Tourism Export Council and thinktank Asialink, the first workshop will teach traders about China’s internet and the tricky terrain of social media, as China has blocked many of the usual social media advertising platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.

• The lion dance isn’t the only thing China has exported to WA; it’s tourists rank number 1 when they come Down Under and start spending.

Businesses will instead learn to get their message out via WeChat, China’s communist party-approved (and monitored) social media/messaging/payment “app for everything”.

The second workshop will teach how to cater products and services for Chinese consumers, and the third workshop will prepare traders to accept Chinese people’s favoured forms of payment. Many Chinese people now operate cashlessly and prefer to use digital wallet apps stored on phones, like WeChat Pay and Alipay.

Airport

Perth Airport has noticed the trend and is currently working with its shops to bring them up to speed on mobile payment technology for the 65,000 travellers from China that come through its terminal each year.

The export council has previously run the training sessions in Sydney, regional WA and the Great Ocean Road region.

ATEC is also proposing a “Japan Host” program to teach businesses how to do customer service Nihonjin-style, but city staff have noted the China version is more in-depth and more tailored. Japanese tourists make up 3 per cent of WA’s international visitors.

Commissioners vote on the spend at the next meeting on September 24.

by DAVID BELL

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