The world is rapidly changing. Shock #1. For about the past month, more than half of the viewers of my blog live in Hong Kong. This huge increase in viewers from one Asian city is welcomed but unexplainable.
The next several shocks occurred yesterday as I was reading the June 8, 2019, The Economist, which I have found to be a trustworthy publication. In 2016 the Chinese overtook Germans to become the 2nd biggest cruise-going nation. I would have thought the United States was #1. However, Chinese cruisers are now in decline and their numbers are expected to drop 5 to 15% this year.
Shock #3. Chinese travel tastes, especially related to cruises, are changing. When Chinese citizens are asked why they take cruises, it’s learned that their expressed interests are shifting. “Visit landmarks and shopping have been dethroned as top reasons for traveling,” claims The Economist. Earlier this year in Sydney, Australia, Ruth and I were about to spend our last night in a hotel after a month Down Under. On the way to our room we were accompanied by a hotel employee who was cleaning them. Curiously, she was carrying many boxes that had once clearly contained designer products. The names on them were Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, etc. Ruth asked her about them and was told that Chinese visitors to Australia usually spend 40 to 50 thousand dollars on designer goods that they put on and wear to return home. The boxes get left in their hotel rooms. She asked Ruth if she wanted some of them, and Ruth returned home with a prestigious but empty couple of them. According to The Economist, taking a break from work and experiencing local cultures have replaced shopping as the prime Chinese reasons to travel. Cruise lines are paying attention and changing on-board potential purchases. The article is called “not what it was”.
Shock #4, 5, and 6! Indians now gobble up nearly 3 times as much data on their phones as Americans. Most of the next 2 billion users of the internet will be from what we used to call 3rd world countries. That’s 2 BILLION! China and India will lead this boom. As a result Google is shifting its thinking to building products for India, already a huge user of both Facebook and YouTube. “A lot of Indians use phones to look at pornography…” The Economist observes in an article named “A global timepass economy”.
It appears that the people of Hong Kong are suddenly very curious about U. S. and international travel that does not involve shopping for expensive brand names, and it’s only a matter of time before Indians shop on their phones, adding to the global cardboard crisis.