You are reading one of the 12 TRENDS FOR 2012. Read all 12 trends here »


In 2012, businesses around the world will shower Chinese customers and visitors with even more tailored services and perks, and in general, lavish attention and respect.

China is the new emperor, and outpaced companies, flailing nations and even broke monetary unions are looking to the Chinese to bail them out. No wonder red carpets are being rolled out wherever Chinese politicians and CEOs currently set foot. In 2012’s global consumption arena we see a similar picture: department stores, airlines, hotels, theme parks and museums, if not entire cities, around the world are going out of their way to shower Chinese customers with tailored services and perks, and in general, lavish them with attention and respect.

Some stats:

  • Chinese residents made over 30 million overseas trips in the first half of 2011 alone, up 20% since 2010. For comparison, US citizens made only 37 million outbound air travel trips during the whole of 2010 (Source: China Ministry of Public Security, July 2011; Office of Travel and Tourism Industries, September 2011).
  • And that’s just the beginning: The World Tourism Organization has estimated that the total number of outbound tourists from China will reach 100 million by 2020.

Count on Indians and Brazilians to be on the receiving end of the RED (OR ORANGE OR GREEN) CARPET trend too. Some examples:

  • In July 2011, Hilton Hotels Worldwide created a service targeting Chinese travelers. Called "Hilton Huanying" (Mandarin for “welcome”), the program is available at 30 Hilton hotels across the world, and offers tailored assistance for Chinese guests, including check-in in their native language and in-room facilities such as Chinese tea and television channels, as well as slippers and a welcome letter in Mandarin. There's also a breakfast buffet available, with congee, dim sum and fried noodles on the menu.

  • In London, department store Harrods employs 70 Mandarin-speaking members of staff. It has also installed 75 dedicated China UnionPay points. In a similar vein, Parisian department store Printemps has a special entrance for Chinese tour groups and Chinese store maps.
  • Australia has committed USD 30 million over three years to market the country as a luxury destination for wealthy Chinese tourists. The Australian tourism board has taken its marketing campaign to 13 cities in the mainland so far, with hopes of expanding to more than 30 cities by 2020.