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Amid Games, British economy gets gold from Chinese

By Tong Li (Global Times)

13:36, August 12, 2012

It is reported that there are thousands of Chinese journalists covering the Olympic Games in London. Besides the Olympic Park, there's another place where I have seen most of my Chinese colleagues.

It is Bicester Village in Oxfordshire, only an hour's drive from London. It is home to over 130 designer outlet stores set around delightful open-air, pedestrian-friendly paths.

Chinese are said to have the biggest appetite for luxury goods in the world, and I have no doubt about it, because I myself love to splurge on them, as long as I have money.

I went to Bicester Village last week, and was not surprised to find that nearly 80 percent of visitors there were Chinese. But I was a little amazed to see many Chinese reporters whom I had seen in the Olympic Park.

When I walked around one store, two Chinese women made remarks about every handbag displayed near me. I could see their glaring eyes. I recognized them as journalists from a domestic TV station.

There were some Putonghua-speaking floor-walkers to guide Chinese customers. A display case featuring £18,000 ($28,151) diamond-encrusted watches seemed to have been designed to catch the attention of Chinese shoppers.

It reminded me of some extraordinary scenes from Boxing Day sales in London when I studied in the UK in 2010. Were it not for the occasional red double-decker in the streets, this might have been Shanghai or Hong Kong.

I heard that some Chinese reporters, especially women, had already been working themselves into a shopping frenzy ahead of the Olympic Games.
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