Chinese surrogate buyers go on shopping sprees in Japan

Source:Global Times Published: 2016-3-13 18:21:32

Surrogate purchasers hit a shopping street in Osaka, Japan, as a shop assistant promotes local products. Photo: IC

Chinese tourists' passion for spending sprees in Japan in the past year has begotten the new Japanese word bakugai or "explosive buying" to describe the phenomenon.

However, the buying frenzy isn't just an amateur game, with the surging demand for Japanese products spawning a large number of agents who travel to and from Japan to import goods. Even considering the traders' profits, Chinese consumers are able to buy these products from the traders for less than they would cost in China's stores.

These agents receive orders from e-commerce platforms before they board the plane for a three- or four-day journey. On February 27, seven surrogate buyers from Ji'nan, capital of East China's Shandong Province, flew to Osaka on such a journey.

Many surrogate buyers travel with tour groups, bringing two large empty cases each, and only visit shopping districts. The most popular products are smaller personal items, including skin-care products and medicines.

Japanese statistics showed that the country received 4.99 million Chinese visitors in 2015, who spent about $12 billion, beating other countries.

Although China is now able to manufacture most kinds of products, Japanese products of reliable quality and boasting unique design features are still gaining popularity among quality-sensitive middle-class consumers in China. Critics say this will spur made-in-China products to improve and compete in the long run.

One surrogate purchaser can ship up to 1,000 pieces on such a journey. The products are sold by the surrogate buyers for two or three times the original price in Japan, but this is often half the price they are sold for Chinese department stores. The more expensive the products, the greater agents' profits. As a result, one purchaser can make more than 5,000 yuan ($770) per trip.

When their suitcases were packed full of Japanese products and were ready to be checked in at the airport, the seven surrogate buyers took a group photo to mark accomplished mission. Though tired, they only wished they could stay longer and buy more.

Global Times

Chinese purchasers pick up diapers in an infant-care store. Photo: IC

Commodities on order are laid out to be sorted by the buyers in their hotel room in Osaka. Photo: IC


Surrogate buyers take photos of their luggage before heading back to China. Photo: IC

Airport workers arrange checked-in luggage for an Osaka-Ji'nan flight in Japan. Photo: IC


Newspaper headline: Explosive buying

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