Chinese tourism, culture and use of Chinese product information
Chinese tourism in Norway
In 2017, Chinese tourists spent $ 258 billion while traveling abroad, which was 20% of what all tourists traveling internationally spent the same year (Source: World Tourism Organization, UNWTO). Chinese people now get easier travel visas, and several of them travel individually and find information about destinations on the internet. If we look at the travel pattern of Chinese people, there are more Chinese people who now seek out exclusive destinations: culture, traditional food / drink and unique nature experiences. These are areas we in Norway are good at, and there will therefore be many opportunities for both large and small tourist companies in the years to come.
Regarding the number of hotel nights in Norway, there was an increase in Chinese hotel nights in Norway from 141908 in 2013 to 446731 in 2017 (Source: Statens Sentralbyrå 2018). More co-operation between the Nordic countries and China has led to new visa locations being opened in China, and we have also received and will have more new flights between the Nordic countries and China. Among other things, Norway will have its first direct China route in May, when Hainan Airlines starts up from Beijing. The new flight routes bring the Nordic region and China closer together, and improve direct access to the Nordic region for both business travelers and Chinese tourists.
By translating product information into Chinese and through the use of Chinese product information in digital marketing in China, Norwegian companies can make products and services visible both 1st after and 2nd before the Chinese tourists come to Norway.
Chinese payment services can now be used in Norway
An example of how Chinese product information can be used to make Norwegian companies visible, we see with the Chinese payment service Alipay (Zhīfùbǎo 支付 宝 Norwegian pronunciation: dzj-fo ba-o). Together with WeChat, Alipay is the most popular payment service in China, and has 700 million active users (Source: Alipay).
After Alipay entered into a partnership with Vipps, Norwegian stores and user locations throughout Norway can now use this payment service. This will result in an increased need for Chinese product information among Norwegian companies. For those who are considering having Chinese product information available, we at Learn Chinese believe that Chinese cultural knowledge should be a foundation in all translations.
Norwegian user locations that have product information available in Chinese in an app such as Alipay, will be able to reach Chinese people who come to Norway planning their trip via this type of app. When Chinese come to Norway, they can search the Chinese Alipay app for the types of goods and services they are interested in, and they will get an overview in Chinese of companies in the local area that use Alipay.
It is estimated that the number of mobile internet users in China will increase from 757 million in 2018 to 904 million in 2023 (Source: Statista), which clarifies the opportunities you have to make your own products and services visible in China by having a digital marketing strategy . Companies that have Chinese product information and that use a popular Chinese app and payment service such as Alipay, have competitive advantages in that they have the opportunity to communicate and sell goods to the Chinese customers they have reached after their stay in Norway.
Chinese culture and product information in Chinese
It was the anthropologist Edward T. Hall who first pointed out how different cultures can be seen as high-context or low-context cultures. In the Chinese high-context culture, the use of symbols is an important part of all communication, while in the Norwegian low-context culture, more emphasis is placed on direct communication than on the context.
Companies that use symbols and words correctly when communicating with the Chinese will have great competitive advantages by avoiding pitfalls. An example of how a lack of cultural knowledge can affect the end result is if you actively use the number 4 (sì 四, Norwegian pronunciation: s) in a marketing campaign or on the packaging. This number is a symbol of misfortune because the Chinese sign for 4 has the same pronunciation as the sign for ‘death’: sǐ 死. The number 8, on the other hand, is considered a better number. 8 is pronounced bā (Norwegian pronunciation: ba) in Chinese, and has a similar pronunciation as the Chinese character fā 发 (Norwegian pronunciation: fa) which means that the economy is flourishing. It is also no coincidence that the Summer Olympics in Beijing in 2008 started on 8.8 at 20, which again shows how important the use of symbols is in the Chinese high-context culture.
It is important for companies that want success in the Chinese market that they have knowledge of the use of symbols in Chinese culture, for example when designing marketing campaigns and product descriptions. Indirect translations should also be avoided, ie first from Norwegian to English before giving the English text to a Chinese translator without knowledge of the product or the original text. Such translations often result in parts of the text losing their original meaning, leaving you with a poor end product. Businesses should get help from someone who is proficient in Chinese and who you trust so that you can see that what is translated is actually true.
Finally, it should be pointed out that for restaurants and hotels with many Chinese customers, product information in Chinese can also be an important environmental measure. When food is labelled in Chinese, Chinese customers will be aware of what they are choosing. This will lead to reduced food waste. This perhaps clarifies the most important thing about a good Chinese product description: the Chinese customers know what they are getting, and you get more satisfied customers.
We at Learn Chinese hope Norwegian tourism companies welcome Chinese tourists, and do not forget what the famous Chinese philosopher Confucius (551 - 479 BC) once said:
"When friends come to visit from afar, it's not happy？"
yǒu péng zì yuǎnfāng lái bu yì lè hū 有 朋 自 远方 来 ， 不亦乐乎！
yǒu  péng  zì  yuǎnfāng  lái  buyì  lè  hū 
有  朋  自  远方  来  不 亦  乐  乎 
1. 有 yǒu å ha
2. 朋 Peng friend, friends
3. ì zì fra
4. 远方 yuǎnfāng somewhere far away
5. 来 lay to come
6. 亦 亦 buyì not too
7. 乐 lè glad, glede
8. 乎 hū query word, used to create questions in classical Chinese