Many of the world's swanky shops went Chinese last week.
They adorned their premises with welcoming banners in Chinese, huge floral displays and red drapes, for just one reason: The Chinese shoppers were coming.
Mandarin-speaking shop assistants and extra deliveries of sought-after designer goods are just part of making the big-spending visitors feel at home during the weeklong National Day holiday. With the holiday over and Chinese tourists back home, the merchants are counting their money and most are finding that their efforts paid off.
In London, Chinese tourists spent an average of $12,800 on shopping, higher than the former record holders from the oil-rich Middle-East countries, according to the Daily Mail.
Stories of conspicuous consumption of Chinese visitors abound in Rome, Milan and many other places, including Liechtenstein, a tiny principality between Austria and Switzerland.
With various strains of Chinese dialects filling the air, shop assistants bent over backward for customers and clutched credit cards carefully between both hands as if holding a gift.
The more thoughtful fashion houses in Paris employed special tea masters to prepare the perfect cup of longjing tea for their Chinese guests.
The overriding image of Chinese tourists on Jeju island in South Korea is one of busloads of shoppers heading for the luxury boutiques in the Shilla duty free store, said Quan Yuefang, a tour guide with Nanjing-based Tuniu.com, an online travel agency.