Friday, January 17, 2014

Ni Hao Kitty

A view to relax regional tensions

Japanese and Chinese have long been uncomfortable bedfellows. Recent political tensions over the sovereignty of a few rocks in the Pacific Ocean (Senkaku Islands in Japanese, Diaoyu in Chinese) have kept decades-old rancor simmering well into the 21st century. However, such growlings have not kept the well-heeled Chinese tourists away from the Land of the Rising Sun. On the contrary, as reported in this Wall Street Journal blog article, Japan has emerged as the number one travel destination choice for wealthy Mainlanders, beating out the US and other popular destinations such as Hong Kong or the Maldives. Like many seasoned international travelers, the Chinese have been catching on to Japan’s unique natural beauty, fascinatingly unique culture and amazing food. Louis Vuitton bags and $1,000 rice cookers have also been a draw. It certainly helps that the RMB has appreciated by some 25% against the yen in recent months, which makes the Land of the Falling FX Rate a cost-effective choice, in addition to an alluring one.

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