Chinese shoppers flock to Turkey for luxury goods as lira drops to record low

By Liu Caiyu Source:Global Times Published: 2018/8/14 21:58:40

Buy designer-branded goods at bargain prices in Turkey

Chinese are flocking to high-end stores in Turkey to take advantage of the lira's drop to a record low.

Tourists are lining up outside the Chanel and Louis Vuitton stores on Monday, most were Asians and Arabs, a Chinese who works in Istanbul surnamed Li told the Global Times.

But most bags in the Chanel store in Istanbul had already sold out, Li said, who headed to the Chanel store on Monday knowing that the plunge in the value of the lira would make luxury bags a lot cheaper.

The lira pulled back from an overnight record low of 7.24 to the dollar on Monday after the central bank pledged to provide liquidity and cut lira and foreign currency reserve requirements for Turkish banks, Reuters reported on Monday.

A Chanel case is being sold for 18,000 yuan ($2,614) at Turkish shops, about 5,000 yuan lower than at a European Chanel shop, Li said.

Another Chinese tourist in Istanbul said he purchased more than 2 million yuan worth of designer goods in Istanbul on Monday, spending 800,000 yuan less that it would have before the currency's plunge. "But you have to wait several hours before getting inside the shop. Many items are sold out. Shops, including those of Gucci, Bvlgari and Cartier cancelled their discount events," the man told the Global Times.

"Each foreign customer is only allowed to buy one Chanel bag," Li said. Chanel stores in Istanbul will also raise prices  to cope with the falling Turkish lira, according to Chanel staff, without saying by how much, according to Li.

As the Turkish lira continued to tumble, Chinese travel website Ctrip stopped payments in lira on Monday, a company spokesperson told the Global Times.

There are rumors that some people would purchase flights on Ctrip in lira and get a refund in Chinese yuan, thereby earning some money.

However, prices of travel deals to Turkey will hardly change because of the plunge in the value of the lira. "On domestic travel websites, people usually pay in Chinese yuan and reserve their trips at least a month in advance," travel website Lümama told the Global Times.

In summer, a flight from China to Turkey costs about 10,000 yuan. Compared to the same period of last year, the number of Chinese tourists to Turkey increased by 30 percent in July and August, Lümama said.

The Turkish lira has also dragged emerging currencies down, Bloomberg reported. The lira plunged by as much as 11 percent, bringing down South Africa's rand by 9.4 percent and Mexico's peso by 2.4 percent, the report said.

Newspaper headline: Chinese capitalize on low lira


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