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Tue 12 Jun 2012 06:01 PM

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Dubai luxury retailers see China sales boost

Luxury brands hire more Cantonese, Mandarin speakers amid Chinese tourism boom

Dubai luxury retailers see China sales boost

A growing number of Cantonese and Mandarin speaking staff are being hired by luxury retailers in Dubai as it sees more business from Chinese tourists.

Mall of the Emirates said it was witnessing an increasing number of tourists from China who were targeting high-end fashion retailers.

According to the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), Chinese tourists are now among the top 20 demographics visiting Dubai.

China’s fast-emerging middle class is providing a boost to the UAE’s tourism ambitions, as tit fights to meet its goal of attracting 15 million tourists by 2020.

According to Mall of the Emirates retailers, Chinese tourists' shopping habits trend towards an interest in luxury products including branded leather goods, handbags, footwear, and specialised beauty products not available in China.

Across the portfolio of high-fashion brands, Cantonese and Mandarin speaking staff are being hired to better serve the Chinese visitor demographic, a statement from the shopping mall said.

"We have recruited to a profile to meet our customer needs, including more Chinese staff," said one luxury retailer at Mall of the Emirates.

Another noted that they "have Chinese team members covering all shifts."

Tanya Atkinson, general manager Harvey Nichols in Dubai, added: "Chinese tourists are an important focus, and during key travel period for Chinese tourists we employ a Chinese speaking team member to greet arriving shoppers.

"In addition, the Harvey Nichols - Dubai visual merchandising team "includes Chinese language signs at key touch points throughout the store," said Atkinson.

She added: "Chinese tourists are seeking the most internationally recognisable brand names in the store such as Armani Collezioni, Balenciaga, Bottega Veneta, Coach, Dolce&Gabbana, Gucci, and more."

Fuad Sharaf, senior asset director, Asset Management, Shopping Malls, said: "We are continuing to witness a steady rise in tourists visiting the mall and thus developed specific tourism initiatives to cater to visitors needs and ensure that they have the best experience possible during their stay in Dubai."

The UAE is spending billions of dollars on visitor attractions and luxury hotels in a bid to diversity its petrodollar-driven economy, a blend that has proved appealing to China’s increasingly wealthy citizens.

In Dubai, the trickle of Chinese visitors is rapidly becoming a flood, with more than 150,000 visiting the emirate in 2010, a 41 percent rise on the previous year’s figures.

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