There has always being a tangible silky veil between East and West, between known and exotic, but it is only lately, thanks to fast-paced globalisation, that we are starting to realise that that veil, once thought to be a euphemism, is actually a ‘Silk Road’ that has in fact unified East and West for a good long while.
Despite the changes and restrictions implied by the decision of the UK to leave the EU and the current post-Brexit hangover, according to figures from VisitBritain posted last February, there has been so far a 37% increase in Chinese visitors to Britain.
“The new visitor visa scheme for Chinese nationals introduced earlier this month by the UK Government looks set to further Britain as the destination of choice for this rapidly-growing market.” – Chinese visitors being among the “UK’s highest spenders, spending on average £2,688 a head”, VisitBritain reports.
Mia Chen, 23, from Shenzhen and living in London says: “The UK is the kind of place that you just love way more than you hate.”
Unfortunately, Mia failed the A level exams in China to entry university, so she had two choices: one, study at low-level Chinese universities, or secondly, apply to study abroad – needless to say, she picked option number two.
China is well known for its leading, fast-paced growth and influence: “Increased disposable incomes, extended national holidays […] and the rising value of the renminbi (China’s currency) have all contributed to the boom.” Quoted from Chinese: the new globe-trotters article.
Today, we are living in a multicultural global society where being different is what makes us similar – we seek to receive the best education possible, so we can guarantee a stable job and life.
“There are between 90,000 and 150,000 Chinese students in British universities. They certainly form the largest group of foreign nationals.” – Statistics gathered by Times Higher Education show.
“Studying in the UK has a great reputation within Chinese families, a direct ticket back home to well-paid jobs.” Said Mia. “My choice was backed by my parents as they consider the UK a safer country compared to others, especially since I’m a girl.”
‘Made in China’, a tag that is found on the back of most of our daily-used possessions, has been taken for granted that most of the things we own are most likely made in China, but what happens when things change?
Chanel, Hermès and of course Apple, among many more luxury Western products have all increased in demand in the Chinese mainland market since 2013. This factor has invited Chinese visitors to direct their agenda towards the West.
“When I was younger I used to buy very affordable clothes and body care products that could be easily replaced every season, but now I prefer to spend on quality and long-lasting products, which of course come from recognizable brands such as Zara.” Says Mia.
Mia is an example of the current: Chinese people are opting for worldwide known brands -despite the high prices. Stylish, fashionable products that not only impress people around you but also lasts, is the new ‘made in China’.
*Note: I wrote this article as an assignment for an application for a journo job a few months back, and I believe that besides being a good example of my writing skills and work, it’s also a relevant issue in today’s world economy.