A different kind of Chinese invasion

Tourists and RMB.  Yep, Korea is becoming awash in both.  Quartz article sums it up nicely:

Chinese tourists are heading to South Korea more than any other destination this year, according to travel agency Ctrip. That’s because political instability has turned many off Thailand, and China’s ties with South Korea have been warming.

Invasion central?  Jejudo.

But most of all there is the undeniable appeal of JejuThe resort island off the South Korean coast is drawing Chinese tourists with its subtropical climate, visa-free status, and attractions like casinos and an erotic-sculpture theme park known as Loveland.

[…]

In 2013, almost four million mainland Chinese tourists visited South Korea, and 1.8 million of them went to Jeju…If Ctrip’s predictions are correct, the number of mainland tourists visiting South Korea will rise to 5.6 million this year—equal to over 10% of South Korea’s population.

Chinese tourism for 2014 may equal 10% of the ROK’s population?  Holy cow!

 

  • djson1

    Those Jejuans better start learning their Mandarin and Cantonese if they want those tourism dollars. I was there last March and I remember the cab driver told me that Chinese tourists will just sit in the cab and start speaking to him in Chinese. When he tells them (in English and Korean) that he cannot speak Chinese…that doesn’t stop them. They just speak louder in Chinese. haha.

  • redwhitedude

    In 2013 the Jeju airport became the 2nd busiest in passenger traffic surpassing Kimpo airport in Korea. So I guess this will definately cement this airport in 2nd place.

    Also wouldn’t be too surprised if the number of complaints about them spiked about these mainland chinese tourists given the notoriety they’ve gotten in HK. There is a risk that they’ll stink up the place that Koreans may not view Jeju as a nice honeymoon spot if this does indeed turn out to be a sustained invasion.

    I wonder if Jeju will become another place where chinese will park their ill gotten gains or rather smuggled their wealth into Jeju given the sort of things they’ve done with fake invoicing and buying up real estate for that purpose.

  • Tapp

    I think every taxi driver in the world does this. As soon as I tell my driver that I can’t speak Korean very well, he increases the volume every time. I thought it was just an Asian thing, but then I saw a movie with the same situation in an NYC cab. Sure enough, the first thing the cabbie did was speak English louder (to the comedic point of yelling). Turns out people aren’t very different after all.

  • Dokdoforever

    Half of the customers in Jeju City E Mart were Chinese the last time I visited. However, most Chinese tourists tend take group bus tours, so you mostly see them at the major tourist sites, rather than interacting with average Koreans throughout the island.

  • yuna_at_marmotshole

    This article/blog entry got some views a few days ago:

    It warns people about coming to live Jejudo following the trend set by the likes of 소길댁 Lee Hyori (who has a very very nice naver blog)..and talks mainly about the problem of the Chinese invasion of Jeju:

    http://www.ohmynews.com/NWS_Web/View/at_pg.aspx?CNTN_CD=A0002010769&CMPT_CD=Ranking_mini

  • redwhitedude

    You have to wonder if this tourist invasion could translate into some chinese immigration in which case there is definitely going to be more interaction with locals.

  • A Korean

    Hello?! That’s American thing.

    “Why the dumb face? Are you stupid?

    Ok.

    WHERE. THE. *&^%. IS. DA. TOILET. ???”

  • Aja Aja

    What I’m most worried about all this is the environmental degradation in the name of Chinese investment. I would like to see Jeju keep as much natural state as it has now. But with all the massive property buyouts from the Chinese, which are planned for massive developments of condos, hotels, malls, and casinos, Jeju is becoming endangered of being over-developed, degrading the environment. Without a good environment, what’s the point of Jejudo’s tourism?

  • Aja Aja

    If they invest US $500,000, they can get a permanent residency, and many have already done so. I hear that a number of the current condo and shopping mall projects are strictly Chinese funded for Chinese investors, with most of the buyers being Chinese. The local Jeju people are starting to complain that none of this money is really being pumped into the Jeju economy, as most of the offshore money are sold and made by Chinese, shutting out the locals. Maybe Jeju should start looking at what Canada recently did with their investor immigration program which tightened Chinese immigration – raise the minimum investment needed to $1 million.

  • A Korean

    Maybe Sumo can do a writeup on this?

  • Sumo294

    This is true–Jeju people feel that they are somehow not making money.

  • Sumo294

    Jeju really in not a breathtaking UNESCO site that it makes itself out to be. Its more of a collection of quirky and a motley collection of small but delightful scenery. Nothing here really is up to international scale. However, Jeju has a wide variety of different things to look at and has charm despite its mismanagement. It is headed to become the PE Island of Asia–with a foundation of literature to make it a must visit place. I personally would like to see Jeju become prosperous with numerous houses with lots of gardens. It has great long term prospects–I think it will become a sailing destination and you can have a real lifestyle here that has some bucolic elements unlike the life in Seoul.

  • Sumo294

    I am thinking on this. I want to do it right.

  • Sumo294

    I will say this for now–the reason why Jeju cannot become a great ecological site is because its not what the native population wants. Despite what a few advocates are pushing–they do not want to preserve their dialect and customs–and they largely do not want to revisit the issue of the Jeju massacre. The people here aspire to lives such as are lived by people in Seoul and in the West. They want little to do with swimming around picking up shellfish and they do not see the point in hiking up that mountain in the center of the Island. They are more interested in making money so that they can educate their children and send them off to a decent college to live lives away from Jeju. Though, the people of Jeju feel that they are Korean–they are not Korean in the sense that their family relationships are not maintained in the same way as the mainland is. I can’t say with strict certainty but Jeju families are more like confederacies of loose alliances. Many Seoul families strike me as being run like an army with the eldest male and female at the helm. Jeju families are definitely not as tight and friendly with each other.

  • redwhitedude

    Wasn’t there reports about some of these projects potential despoiling the environment or being built on areas that are suppose to be protected from development?

  • redwhitedude

    I’d worry of the development because of things like Seowul disaster shows that regulations could not be enforced properly and development in such an environment could ruin things.

  • http://www.eslwriting.org/ eslwriter

    Optimistic story about the future. Doesn’t jive with the facts though. Just read a story about one tour operator who said the number of monthly tourists from China to Jeju with his firm had declined from 10,000 to 2,500.

    And just in case the article author did not think about this, there are more tourist destinations beyond Thailand and Korea. For the Chinese It’s not a this or that choice.

  • Sumo294

    Chinese tourists have little choice in where they can vacation. If they travel in China they have to deal with fellow Chinese–not what I would call a vacation. Thai people dislike the Chinese–but they won’t show it to their faces and plus they are used to far worse drunken tourists than Chinese tourists–but the Chinese disdain Thai culture and basically they are there to swim and sit in their hotels wondering what to do. Korea is the only country where the people do not actively dislike the Chinese and its culture is appealing to many Chinese visitors. The Chinese respect the achievements of the US culture and power–but disdain all other cultures as inferior to that of Chinese modern culture. Korean culture, however, offers a glimspe of what China might be more akin to if it had not been for Communism–and many of them think Korean culture as a legitimate option other than Chinese culture. In other words–to adopt Korean cultural norms is not in any way rejecting your Chinese heritage. Interestingly, I think HK would be more a accurate frame of reference–but the Mainlanders look down on the Cantonese speakers as weak, untrustworthy and contaminated by evil British culture.

  • pawikirogii
  • pawikirogii

    link, please.

  • Pingback: The Chinese Invasion of Jeju Island | Via Korea()

  • RElgin

    Considering the PRCs business deals in Greece, the same rash of investment and building is probably going to hit Crete and the Greeks are going to freak out over this. Crete is a far more beautiful island than Jejudo ever was, with better beaches, food, etc. The Greeks will probably put an end to this if it really starts to happen:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-27960661

  • Walking man A

    Via Korea is calling “Marmot’s Hole ” as a “Marmot’s Wet, Silky Hole ” … I know that guy got no manner but this is bit too far .

  • brier

    Not a bad opinion. Well said.

  • MikeinGyeonggi

    It’s also worth remembering that Korea is a pretty short flight from anywhere in eastern China. Throw in affordable accommodation and it makes it an easy choice.

    I’d be surprised if mainlanders viewed HKers as untrustworthy and weak. If anything, they’d probably come off as aloof and snobbish.

    Most Chinese people I’ve met seem to be fascinated by Taiwan. The freedom, Chinese history, food, and diverse landscape appeal to a lot of Chinese. But I’m not sure how the visa requirements work.

  • Aja Aja

    Chinese have their own tour operators, and they’re numbers have crushed the Korean tour operators who cannot compete in price. This goes back to the complaints by the Jeju people that they’re not reaping all the financial gains as they should. Another reason is that more and more Chinese are skipping the tour companies and are touring on their own. All this were on the Korean news.

  • Aja Aja

    And the liberal VISA policy helps, no?

  • redwhitedude

    Didn’t canada just scrap that policy of invest a certain amount and get residency? I think it is a stupid policy. If you did that you might end up with people with dubious background who happen to have lots of money. Not to say that everybody is like that but given the sort of weak legal system in China next door not sure if that is a smart idea.

  • redwhitedude

    I wonder if the CCP might get nervous about the freedom aspect of the exposure to Taiwan?

  • Sumo294

    The ones that tour on their own are the best ones–those are the real tourists who are there for the right reasons. They are sleeping in Korean pensions and eating Jeju black pig. Those guys and gals will write the blogs and books that will make the backbone of a knowledge infrastructure that will draw new future tourists to Jeju.

  • MikeinGyeonggi

    I didn’t say Chinese go there in droves, just that every one I’ve met seems fascinated by Taiwan. Though when I visited there I saw a huge queue (mob) of mainlanders at the airport who pushed me out of the way at the currency exchange. As I mentioned, I’m not sure how Taiwan visas are doled out. All I know is my educated, middle-class Chinese language teacher friend couldn’t get one.

  • Aja Aja

    Agreed. This is the kind of quality of tourism that Jeju should seek.
    All those tour operators are total ripoffs anyway. To cover for their cheap prices, they take the tourists to shopping sprees in one of their designated shopping places, instead of doing the real tours.

  • Aja Aja

    I wasn’t referring to Taiwan, I don’t know their VISA policy regarding China. I was referring to Jeju’s liberal VISA policy regarding the Chinese.

  • MikeinGyeonggi

    Oh, sorry. Yes, quite right.

  • pawikirogii

    another site run by a miserable white guy. NEXT!

  • wangkon936

    Jeju is the new whore of Babylon. Chinese tourists, Japanese land speculators, American naval base, the list goes on!

  • wangkon936

    Sumo speaks the truth here. This comments need more up votes.

  • wangkon936

    The Taiwanese are probably more prejudice towards the Mainlanders than the Koreans are.

  • wangkon936

    Question. “Korea Sparkling” and “Sparkling Korea” is a slogan that hasn’t been used since 2008, over five years ago. Why is it that the only people who use it consistently today are Waegs (when they want to talk ill of Korea)?

  • wangkon936

    I took a Jeju tour. It wasn’t bad. I liked it. You are right, they did take me to a few places selling snake oil (some grounded up mushrooms that were suppose to cure everything), but overall it was good. We got a beach front room at the Silla Hotel too. Silla Hotel was really nice.

  • bigmamat

    Yes that sterling example of the white male hagwon persuasion. He’s the only creep that I check up on everyday because his butthurt is only exceeded by his use of three dollar words. He likes to photograph abandoned buildings. No doubt a metaphor for his life.

  • Sumo294

    Don’t forget Jeju hillbillies–they really exist–instead driving a Chevy or a Ford they drive a Bongo or a Porter. The only real main difference is that they don’t make their own alcohol–soju being so cheap and available to buy.

  • Aja Aja

    Is the Jeju black pig really as delicious as they say?

  • Sumo294

    It can be as good as they as they claim–that is definitely true. Neulbom in Shinjeju would be a good safe place to start for the black pig newbie. My favorite place is closer to the south side at 살골슻불왕소금구이–this place is a house restaurant–hard to find–but wow! is the pig fresh–I mean like killed two hours ago and at your table fresh. I like these guys a lot because I see only locals there–the prices are great and the hosts are actually decent and kind to their customers.

  • Aja Aja

    How can you tell they’re really the black pigs, and not the ordinary kind?

  • Sumo294

    As soon as you eat some you will notice a fresh taste and you will realize that the meat has never been in a freezer. The flesh will be soft and succulent like a fillet portion of a porterhouse steak but with an intense yet mild flavor. All the pigs in Jeju are from the same genetic material–there is no profit here in raising anything other than black pig–not all the pigs are black anymore–but from what I understand–they used to be. The best black pig restaurants raise their own pigs and have been continually breeding them tastier and tastier–making them the finest cuts on planet Earth for grilling at the table.

  • wangkon936

    Yes. Surprising given what the thing eats.

    http://www.segye.com/components/view/print.jsp?aid=20121228022893

  • Aja Aja

    Those were up to the 1960’s.

  • Sumo294

    Human crap is too expensive to transport and shovel and to give to them–ironically. Cheap grains from Brazil is the preferred feed these days–and leftover veggies, and hay. However–the old stories are true and hair raising–I will spare you guys the details written in my notes.

  • wangkon936

    I know they are true. My step father saw it first hand. The damn pig would stare upward towards the pooing hole, licking its lips in anticipation.

    “Human crap is too expensive to transport…”

    I would imagine because of the water content, no?

  • wangkon936

    Sumo, everybody in the shigol has a Bongo or a Porter. Although my uncle in the Chungcheongdo shigol drives a busted ugly Ssangyong Kryon.

  • A Korean

    Like Confucius, Koreans can’t lay claim on inventing pigsty under the outhouse.

  • redwhitedude

    Who comes up with these slogans?

  • http://www.globalasianculture.com Liz

    This video’s a year old but it’s from SBS. Summarizes the effects of Chinese tourism in Jeju. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oTDb_UMxGcQ

    Highlights for non-Korean speakers:
    1. Tourists don’t abide by traffic laws
    2. They don’t pay for food items at small, family-run yogwans. (Yogwan owner in video has sign that reads his establishment doesn’t serve tourists from China)
    3. They put their feet on toilet seats

  • Sumo294

    Dama and Labo are city trucks cuz you can park them on the sidewalk. The hicks drive the original Porters and Bongos–the younger guys drive Porter 2’s and Bongo 3’s.

  • Audrey

    Correction: djson1 stated that the Chinese end up speaking louder, not the Korean taxi driver. Also there is a difference between Koreans and Chinese when it concerns speech and articulation.