PRC TOURIST: SHOPPING IN SINGAPORE SUCKS

Retailers billed it as the Great Singapore Sale. Chinese tourist Zhu Liang bought it, only to regret afterward.

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“We will never come here again to shop on purpose,” said Zhu, a 35-year-old businessman from Hangzhou. Visiting the city during the final days of the summer sale season in July, he purchased a Loewe handbag for his wife, only to discover he could have paid less in Hong Kong.

Behind the mark-up: a strengthening exchange rate, rising labor costs and a sales tax Chinese tourists don’t encounter in neighboring Hong Kong. A reduction in visitors from Asia’s largest economy contributed to a sales slide of as much as 4 percent in Singapore’s annual shopping festival, according to the retailers’ association.

Visitors from China to Singapore dropped 27 percent in the five months through May from a year earlier amid slower economic growth on the mainland and the impact of a new Chinese law that clamped down on cut-price shopping tours. Total tourist arrivals slid 1.7 percent, according to the Singapore Tourism Board.

Read more here: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-08-03/singapore-s-great-sale-that-was...

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