Japan’s Norinchukin invests to woo more Chinese tourists

TOKYO, July 24 ― The Norinchukin Bank, the cooperative financial arm of Japan’s largest farmers’ group, has invested in a startup to help attract more Chinese tourists in Japan.

The Norinchukin Bank said on July 23 that it invested an undisclosed sum in Japan Foodie, also known as Nihon-bishoku, which offers a mobile app for Chinese tourists in Japan.

Japan Foodie offers app services to Chinese tourists to browse restaurants, make reservations, and order in advance and pay all in their native language.

The move comes as the weak yen boosted the country’s travel boom and overseas tourists’ spending on foods in Japan surged to a record high in 2017.

According to the Japan Tourism Agency, one of the top spenders on foods were from China. Moreover, about 40 percent of Chinese tourists were repeaters who were willing to have unique experiences more than ever and like to explore Japanese country sides.

“Foods and unique experiences in Japan are the area that we can expect to grow further,” said an official from the Norinchukin Bank.

The bank now sees investment in Japan Foodie will help the JA group gain deeper insight into Chinese tourists’ travel preferences and habits, so that the JA group can offer richer and more reliable tourist information services and products.

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