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article imageA guide to China's Golden Week in London

By Layne Weiss     Oct 5, 2013 in Business
London - On the first of October of each year, the people of China celebrate a national holiday called Golden Week, which commemorates the founding of the People's Republic of China. October's Golden Week is one of two Golden Weeks in the Chinese calendar.
The second Golden Week coincides with the Chinese Lunar New Year and takes place in January and February, Business of Fashion reports.
To celebrate these holidays, hundreds of millions of Chinese people go shopping to buy gifts for others and themselves. Shopping is an integral part of the festivities with total retail sales reaching about $127.4 billion according to China's state TV provider CCTV.
“Giving gifts is huge part of Chinese culture, and watches, jewellery and other small items are among the favorite choices,” said Ming Ming Dong, the director of Sinolink, a company that provides a range of communication services to bridge the gap between China and the West, including international tax-free shopping assistance.
Just a sweet little side note, CCTV also reports that many people have been getting married during this year's Golden Week!
In the past, Golden Weeks were celebrated within China, but now more people choose to go abroad. This week, many have chosen to go shopping in London, including the famous Westfield Shopping Centre among others.
As of October 1, Westfield was expecting a "huge influx" of Chinese tourists to come shopping for the week-long holiday, The Evening Standard reports.
“Chinese shoppers represent the most significant — and rapidly growing — proportion of our international customer base and over the last five years Harrods has seen an increase in the number of customers visiting the store during Golden Week,” Michael Ward, managing director of Harrods, told BoF.
In order to commemorate Golden Week, Harrods is selling an exclusively designed Mikimoto Double Eight Collection. The number eight symbolizes "luck and fortune" in Chinese culture. Harrods has also launched a special Golden Week WeChat account as well as various iPad applications in Mandarin. The store also has over 70 Mandarin-speaking staff members and has installed over 90 UnionPay stations.
Other shops including Prada, Louis Vuitton, and others are also offering special Golden Week items and hire extra Mandarin speakers for the holiday.
Other favorite destinations for Golden Week include South Korea, Thailand, and Cambodia. The wealthier Chinese probably enjoy going to the United Kingdom and United States most of all.
On Thursday, Ting Lu, China economist for Bank of America at Merrill Lynch said, "Golden Week has been quite golden so far. Tourism data came in strong for the first two days."
Yes, Golden Week is well under way, but regardless, here's a guide for retailers. After all, they'll have to do this all over again in January or February!
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