Chinese tourists clearing shelves of home appliances in Japan

February 09, 2015 11:32
Appliances made in Japan are in high demand among Chinese visitors. Photo: Bloomberg

For many Chinese tourists visiting Japan, their passion for home appliances made there overwhelms any nationalist feelings of hostility over the Japanese invasion last century or territorial disputes over an island chain.

The reasons are simple: quality and price.

More and more Chinese are rushing to Japan for shopping sprees, spurred by the falling yen, the Japanese government’s expansion of the categories of products that are duty-free for foreigners and its easing of visa restrictions, Apple Daily reported Monday, citing a recent feature on state television station CCTV.

In addition to cosmetic products, a perennial favorite, Chinese tourists to Japan are increasingly bringing back home appliances.

It is common to see more than 10 buses carrying them to duty-free stores in Tokyo’s Akihabara "Electrical Town" each morning.

Bidet toilet seats -- the functions of which include washing, killing bacteris and deodorizing -- have become must-buys among Chinese tourists to Japan. A salesperson at one store said Japanese manufacturers are struggling to meet demand.

Electric rice cookers are also highly popular among Chinese tourists, who account for 80 percent of their sales, the CCTV report said. Most of the visitors say the quality is superior to that of those back home.

The CCTV report said Japanese-made electric razors, toothbrushes and facial cleansers are sold in China at prices as much as three times those in Japan.

Meanwhile, Apple Daily quoted German newspaper website as saying Chinese tourists are now buying baby formula in supermarkets in Frankfurt, forcing producers to ration supplies to ensure that German babies can get enough.

A spokesman for German formula maker Milupa said the firm's production capacity is now overstretched, as demand keeps rising despite supply having doubled from 2013.

It now allows only parents living in Germany to place orders online, the report said.

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