What Chinese Travellers Are Telling Luxury Brands Through Their WeChat Behaviour


Lydianne Yap | October 17, 2017

Recent data collected by the nation’s biggest social media platform, WeChat, over the recent Golden Week holiday offers new insights into travelling habits of the Chinese.

There are two distinct periods every year that see a mass exodus of Chinese travellers moving around within and without the world’s most populous nation: Chinese New Year, and the recently concluded Golden Week break. Spanning the first week of October, this year’s eight-day holiday saw a staggering 705 million domestic and about 6 million outbound trips made by the Chinese.

Based on data collected from its users, China’s most widely used social media platform, WeChat, released its first report on travel behaviours of the Chinese over this festive period. Here are our five main takeaways and observations on what it means for luxury brands looking to target Chinese travellers.

1. Southeast Asia is a hotbed for Chinese tourism

While Southeast Asia has consistently been a choice destination for Chinese tourists, the recent report displays a significant increase in individuals opting to visit that region. This year, more than 75,000 Chinese tourists flocked to Southeast Asian shores, up from last year’s over 40,000. Although territories within East Asia, China, North America and Europe remain popular among the Mainland Chinese, Southeast Asia is currently the top choice.

2. Chinese Tourists Love Shopping

So, yes, high numbers of Chinese tourists flocked to Southeast Asia during the Golden Week holiday. But what activities do they tend to engage in on these shores? WeChat’s report notes that shopping forms a large part of it.

Interestingly, the merchant type that sees the highest volume of cross border payment from the Chinese are duty-free shops, not retail stores. A significant 52% of overseas payments are made within such outlets – sending a clear message to brands (luxury or otherwise) where to best target Chinese travellers.

3. Hong Kong Still the Top Destination City

Whether for its proximity to the Mainland, wide variety of shopping options or bustling food and nightlife scene, Hong Kong remains the top destination for those born in the 90’s, 80’s and 70’s.

4. Largest Number of Mobile Payment Transactions Are Made In Hong Kong

Given that tech-savvy millennials (usually referring to those born between the 1980s and early 2000s) appear to favour visiting Hong Kong, it is perhaps unsurprising that the largest volume of mobile payment transactions made on WeChat took place within this territory.

Of course, it also helps that WeChat Pay automatically converts the local currency into RMB based on real-time rates, making it an extremely convenient and easy payment option for Chinese travellers.

5. Smaller Chinese Cities Saw Fastest Growth in Outbound Travel

Being the largest city in the world, Shanghai naturally clocked the largest number of outbound travellers this Golden Week. However, it is the smaller Chinese cities that are seeing incredibly growth when it comes to outbound travel. Emerging top this year was Chongzuo, with a growth rate of 338% when it came to travellers going abroad. Bordering on Vietnam, the city in Guangxi is known for its rich natural resources, and has only a population of slightly over two million.

Interested in learning more about China and how it affects your brand?

“Through this report, we can clearly see that the Chinese have specific tastes and preferences when it comes to travel destinations, activities and payment options,” comments Elsie Zhang, the client services director of DLG China. She is experienced in helping luxury brands define their digital and marketing strategies, as well as e-commerce.

“It also showcases the points at which the most number of Chinese travellers can be targeted, such as within Southeast Asian cities, and duty-free shops. Luxury brands should consider these things when expanding their travel retail efforts,” she adds.

All data and images are courtesy of WeChat Life. The full report can be accessed here.

China | Reports | Travel