Instances of misbehavior by some mainland tourists have received wide media coverage, but for many of the more than 100 million Chinese who visit foreign destinations each year, travel provides fresh perspectives and valuable experience.
Japanese broadcaster NHK followed a group of Chinese tourists during their stay in Tokyo, and many of them expressed surprise after seeing the real Japan for the first time.
Some members hesitated before joining the tour, fearing the Japanese won’t be friendly because of the historical conflicts between their two countries.
But during their visit, they were usually treated very nicely, even pampered. Previous concerns proved to be totally groundless.
Some began to notice why overseas products are superior.
“I always wondered why Japanese contestants usually win in hair design tournaments in China,” a salon operator said. “But after seeing their excellent attention to details, I now have an idea.”
In addition to examining the latest blow dryers and other salon kits, he also visited a car dealer to try out some new models to appreciate their thoughtful designs.
The biggest hurdle for mainland industries is probably their mindset.
Many makers are used to cutting corners, aping high-end foreign products and then stripping them down to churn out cheap local versions.
Few are willing to invest, innovate and come up with something original.
Reports about Chinese travelers snapping up everything from rice cooker to toilet seat demonstrate how much they want premium, reliable products.
If more domestic makers start to follow the Japanese spirit in the pursuit of quality and originality, China will stand a better chance of becoming a real manufacturing giant.
There is a big learning curve for many Chinese tourists, who may be traveling abroad for the first time in their lives.
But as more of them understand the world better, they will become more respectful, well-behaved, sophisticated and open-minded.
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