[THE INVESTOR] Duty-free operators are restarting marketing efforts targeting Chinese consumers, as thawing relations between the two countries point to the possibility of recovering sales.
On Dec. 21, HDC Shilla Duty Free and Shinsegae Duty Free announced they had signed agreements with Chinese agencies to amplify marketing to the Chinese market.
The Wang Hong studio created at HDC Shilla Duty Free’s IPark branch. HDC Shilla Duty Free.
HDC Shilla Duty Free opened a special studio in its IPark store for Chinese internet celebrities, known as Wang Hong, to create specialized content for Chinese audiences.
HDC Shilla Duty Free also signed an agreement with Wang Hong marketing agency RedIN to strategically invite Wang Hong who focus on shopping content and utilize them in marketing to China. According to the company, the agreement may lead to the duty-free operator and Wang Hong jointly developing tourism products to be sold in China.
Meanwhile, Shinsegae Duty Free said it has teamed up with Ma Feng Wo, a travel information platform that is China‘s answer to Lonely Planet, to create travel content focused on Korea. According to the company, the target is Chinese travelers born in the 1990s. The content will feature Ma Feng Wo’s travel experts who will introduce Shinsegae Duty Free as a shopping destination to save time and money.
“The goal is to provide brand information in a natural way to Chinese consumers who have been fatigued by ads, and to promote Shinsegae Duty Free through storytelling and content marketing,” Shinsegae Duty Free said through a release.
Efforts like these reflect duty-free operators’ hopes that sales may rise again from Chinese tourists, starting with independent travelers.
“Because of the political situation this year, Wang Hong were a bit reluctant to come to Korea and create content. Now that the situation is beginning to change, the industry is slowly beginning to bring back those types of marketing,” said an official with Hotel Shilla, which operates Shilla Duty Free. “There will be more efforts to appeal to independent travelers not only in duty-free but across the retail industry with time.”
By Won Ho-jung/The Korea Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org)