SL must tap Chinese tourism market, says Chinese official | Sunday Observer

SL must tap Chinese tourism market, says Chinese official

The need to promote Sri Lanka as a tourist destination among potential Chinese tourists was highlighted at a seminar titled ‘Enhancing Exports to China and attracting investments’ in Colombo last week.

“Sri Lanka is little known in China and the Chinese tourists visit other destinations due to this.

Therefore, Sri Lanka needs to promote this beautiful country among the Chinese tourists to further develop the industry. With the natural and cultural heritage, Sri Lanka has many advantages to make it a popular travel destination,” Minister, Economic and Commercial Office, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Sri Lanka, Yang Zuo Yuan said.

China and Sri Lanka are friends and have long history of a close relationship. Trade has reached US $ 4.4 billion and 270,000 Chinese tourists have visited this country. More Chinese companies come to Sri Lanka to invest and there is wider scope for trade and investment in Sri Lanka, he said.

China has become a strong development partner in the country and source for FDI. There is a large market potential and Sri Lanka should improve on the product imbalance and inadequate development. Chinese consumers have higher expectations and the changing needs of the consumers have increased the quality expectations too. They no longer depend on low cost products and look at high-end products which Sri Lanka needs to produce, Yuan said.

Sri Lanka needs to concentrate on quality and competitiveness when considering the Chinese market. However, China is at a lower rank in terms of value of goods imported from Sri Lanka. This shows the potential the country has, to conduct trade with China. The improving efficiency is also a positive factor. It is also important to enhance e-commerce platform to perform more trade with China and target match-making fairs to further increase trade, he said.

Function Manager of China Merchant Group, Will Wang said, “China considers Hambantota Port as a strategic location where local investors too could benefit. There will be new developments and business opportunities in the Port area such as bunkering and other similar ventures.

“As an investor, we expect speedy processes in documentation related to business matters, “Infrastructure facilities are one of the prime building blocks in an economy.

As a leading investor in Sri Lanka, we expect that the facilities such as electricity and water to be supplied uninterruptedly.“We also need the efficiency and the speed of service with regard to the business matters and request the BOI to provide us with an efficient service. The government should implement new policies and incentives and tax concessions to investors to make Sri Lanka an attractive destination for investments,” he said.Explaining the cultural dimension related to China, Past President/Trade and Investment sub committee Sri Lanka-China Business Council, Lasantha Wickremesooriya said that any aspiring producer or service provider who wishes to take a step into the Chinese market should have a deep understanding of the cultural dimensions of the country.

“We are not familiar in negotiating with the Asian part of the world and especially when negotiating with China we need to be extra careful. As the Chinese culture is different, they build on relationships rather than finalise a deal in a hurry.

Sri Lankans should understand this and be patient with the negotiating process to ensure successful business partnerships,” he said.One cannot push through the negotiation process.

The relationship should be build gradually based on trust. It is time consuming and social networking in China is very critical. One should merge with the Chinese culture and the service of an intermediary is important to build trust among the negotiators, he said.The social status and the hierarchy is important consideration and one should meet at the appropriate level.

As relationship building in China takes a long time, the harmony is a key factor. The potential Sri Lankan consumers should have a niche approach to capture high-end markets of China, Wickremesooriya said.