David Thomas is an expert on doing business in China. With a successful history of forging global business relationships, David helps leaders, entrepreneurs and investors solve the China puzzle. As part of that, he’s launched a daily email newsletter ‘China Bites’ which you can read here on Targeting China.

Not much news coming out of China this week with everyone enjoying a week celebrating the new Year of the Pig either at home with their families or taking the opportunity to travel around the world for a much needed holiday.

Here in Sydney, Australian retailers are taking advantage of the opportunity to extend the January holiday season by an extra month by hanging red lanterns, putting up Lunar New Year signs, and promoting their payment facilities with Alipay, Union Pay or WeChat Pay. The number of Chinese visitors who have visited Australia during January and February has doubled over the past five years, with 170,400 arrivals in 2013 compared to 345,700 last year. The expectation is that this will hit the half a million mark this year, representing a short term boost to the retail sector.

A friend of mine told me he was in a popular liquor store over the weekend and witnessed a Chinese family walk out with 7 cases of Penfolds Grange (which costs around A$750 per bottle in retail stores) which is the first of many similar stories I expect to hear in the coming days. As another indicator of the growing awareness and importance of Chinese New Year in Australia, our Prime Minister has apparently opened a Wechat account and will be using it to tell the local Chinese community what he’s up to over the next week or so. Stand by for lots of selfies!

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