Rich Chinese tourists give London retailers a happy Christmas
A third of profits taken in London's West End on Boxing Day came from Chinese tourists, according to reports.
Of the £50 million (HK$625 million) spent in sales, which opened on December 26, the so-called Peking Pound accounted for £12 million, writes The Sun newspaper.
The influx of rich Chinese tourists is the result of simplified visa rules introduced in early December by Britain's Home Office in a bid to boost tourism. Home Secretary Theresa May introduced a shortened online application form and streamlined requirements for Simplified Approved Destination Scheme (ADS) customers.
Experts say more than 10 million shoppers across Britain headed for the Boxing Day sales and Chinese tourists spent an average of £1,000 each.
The Sun said many London stores were employing Putonghua speakers to help Chinese tourists and some even accept yuan.
Retailers such as John Lewis reported a strong increase in sales over the Christmas period. Selfridges reported its most successful first hour of trade ever — taking £1.5 million.