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The spotlight on Chinese customers in the Year of the Pig

News story
Tuesday 5 Feb 2019

With Chinese New Year celebrated on February 5, the Year of the Pig is now officially underway – and according to Chinese astrology, it’s a good year for making money (the pig is a symbol of wealth in Chinese culture).

Auspicious readings aside, with hundred of thousands of Chinese visitors expected to visit New Zealand this year, 2019 should provide plenty of opportunities for Auckland city centre businesses. On top of that is Auckland's significant Chinese population which had grown by 20% in the last census and is projected to keep growing. Around 10% of Auckland's population identifies as Chinese.  

Chinese New Year in the Heart of the City

We promoted the many reasons to visit the city centre this Chinese New Year period – from the SKYCITY street festival on Federal Street and Chancery Square’s Chinese New Year celebrations to lanterns, foodie experiences and fashion-forward shopping recommendations (red is the colour of the season). Plenty of city centre retailers and restaurants also rose to the occasion with Chinese New Year-themed promotions, dining offers and shopping deals.

And it’s not just retail and hospitality businesses that are leveraging the opportunity presented by Chinese New Year. BNZ was a shining example with its eye catching window wraps and Lunar New Year ATM – supplying fresh, crisp bank notes and hóng bāo (small red envelopes for gifting cash) – all wrapped up with messaging in both English and Mandarin. 

Gift cards, QR codes, apps and Alipay – cashing in on hóng bāo without cash

The tradition of the red envelope or ‘red packet’ is changing as society becomes increasingly digital and cashless.

For Chinese New Year this year, Britomart offered specially designed red packets for slotting gift cards into. Other city centre businesses embraced QR codes in their marketing – leading customers directly to their apps or online promotions.

Taking it a step further, Alipay is currently running a Chinese New Year campaign for NZ businesses that includes a QR code which, when scanned, gives users a digital ‘red packet’ for gifting. The campaign is running until the end of February and it also includes a range of instant prizes for Alipay users (funded by Alipay so at no cost to businesses). 

What is Alipay - and why should NZ retailers be using it?

If you’re not already familiar with it, Alipay is a Chinese ‘super app’. Used by over 800 million people, it is a preferred way for Chinese customers to pay for goods and services. With only 15% of Chinese adults having a credit card, mobile payments have become the norm.

Alipay users use the app to pay for everything from takeaways and magazines to buying a new car. Perhaps even more importantly, they use Alipay to search for and discover new businesses wherever they go - making it an effective marketing tool for businesses wanting to reach the large numbers of Chinese visitors coming to our shores. 

Through a partnership with ATEED, Alipay and Christchurch Airport’s South programme, there is currently a great programme in place for Auckland city centre businesses wanting to attract more high value customers through Alipay. The 'South programme' will help you get live on Alipay and will also set-up and manage free marketing for your business on the platform. Find out more here

Getting China-ready 

Tourism New Zealand has pulled together a China toolkit for businesses wanting to get ‘China-ready’ offering advice on everything from business services (e.g signage, ammenities), internet and social media, China-specific business training opportunities, language, etiquette and more. 

The New Zealand China Council is also a good resources for businesses wanting to get up to speed - their website has China-NZ business statistics, publications and lists upcoming events.

For a general overview and insights into the Chinese visitor market, see Tourism New Zealand's market profile for China.