Japanese businesses work to build fan base in China

Japanese businesses work to build fan base in China

DALIAN, China - Japanese companies are opening facilities and holding events in China to let local consumers try out their products and services, hoping the experience will lead to trips to Japan.

Their interest in China has gone into overdrive after witnessing swarms of Chinese tourists display their awesome spending power in Japan during the Lunar New Year holiday in February.

Japanese-style hospitality is a selling point of Prince Hotels' new ski resort in China's Jilin Province. Most guests are naturally surprised when they hear hotel employees greet them with simple Japanese phrases such as "arigatou gozaimasu (thank you)," but they react positively when they learn it is part of the resort's effort to provide Japanese-style services.

On the ski slopes at Lake Songhua Resort, employees provide Japanese-style customer service. Simple gestures, such as employees approaching customers to receive skis when the guests come to return rented equipment, are refreshing to Chinese people. At a typical Chinese ski area, friendliness toward customers is often an alien concept for people selling lift tickets. In the equipment rental area, it is not so rare to see staff throw ski boots in their customers' direction.

The ski area, which began partial operation in January, and the resort were built by Vanke, a major Chinese property developer. This is the first resort Prince Hotels has run in China, but the company has full control over managing the slopes and hotel. It brought eight Japanese staffers, including a former general manager of the Naeba ski resort, one of the largest in Japan. These professionals are placed at the front desk, in the kitchen, on the slopes and in other strategic areas to run the operations smoothly and train local staff.

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