Japanese companies launching Internet-based services for Lunar New Year

Japanese companies launching Internet-based services for Lunar New Year

TOKYO - Businesses here are preparing for a wave of Chinese tourists during the Lunar New Year holidays starting Wednesday by debuting a host of new Internet-based services.

Ad agency Hakuhodo will launch a mobile app on Wednesday with Cybermart, a Foxconn group e-commerce company, providing Chinese smartphone users with information and discounts on Japanese products.

Customers would be able to look up the contact information and location of stores that carry specific items, including cosmetics and knickknacks, and list products they want to purchase before even coming to Japan. The service will focus on the Tokyo metropolitan area during the Chinese New Year holidays.

Hottolink, which specializes in social media analysis, will expand its service informing retailers about trends on Chinese microblogging sites. It provides clients with information on what Chinese tourists are buying, where they are finding the best deals, and other relevant information to help businesses plan their inventory.

Tobu Department Store will start offering a 5 per cent discount through the WeChat communications app starting Thursday. The deal will be made available to Chinese residents in Japan as well, in a bid to better spread the word to potential customers. "Many visitors get their information from friends and family who actually live here," said an official at the chain's marketing division.

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