Chinese visitors pose at Shinsegae Centum City in Busan. (Shinsegae Group)
Armed with the world’s largest department store, Busan has been drawing Chinese big spenders as one of the most favored shopping destinations in Korea.
“A growing number of Chinese visitors are boosting sales of imported luxury goods, made-in-Korea electronics devices and local beauty products,” said an official from the Busan branch of Shinsegae department store.
Shinsegae Group, a leading retail giant in Korea, opened Shinsegae Centum City, a gigantic shopping and entertainment complex in Haeundae, Busan, in 2009.
The 294,000-square-meter complex includes the world’s biggest department store and entertainment facilities including a multiplex cinema and an ice-skating link.
In line with the continued rise in numbers of Chinese travelers to Busan, the complex has built a reputation as a shopping mecca in Korea.
Busan has already become the second-most-favored travel destination in Korea for Chinese travelers, following Seoul.
Shinsegae Centum City in Busan
An employee serves a customer at the Chanel SA cosmetic booth in Shinsegae Centum City department store in Busan. (Bloomberg)
According to data from Busan city government, the number of Chinese visitors to Busan increased 8 percent to 2.8 million in the past year.
Industry watchers said the number of Chinese visitors to Busan will overtake that of Japanese visitors this year.
“The company is developing a variety of sales and marketing plans targeting Chinese big spenders,” Shinsegae Group said in a recent press release.
As a case in point, the retailer hired promoters wearing panda costumes to welcome about 18,000 Chinese employees of Amway in China who visited the department store on June 2, 6, 7 and 11 as part of an incentive trip.
They stayed a few hours at the store but did not hesitate to open their wallets. Sales at the department store in Busan rose 20-fold compared with the same four days a year ago, the retail giant said, adding the most popular shopping items for these Chinese spenders were luxury goods.
“Shinsegae Centum City, which is at the center of Busan’s retail industry, will continue to update its facilities and attract fashion and style brands into the department store to woo more international shoppers,” a Shinsegae Group official said.