Guest Post: This Major Trend Is An Obvious Business Opportunity

Tyler Durden's picture

Submitted by Simon Black of Sovereign Man

This Major Trend Is An Obvious Business Opportunity

It’s critical to be realistic about what’s happening in the world and to take steps to reduce the impact of governments gone wild. But as an unapologetic optimist, I think it’s likewise important to recognize that there is extraordinary opportunity all around us, no matter what.

I’ll give you an example. As an investor and entrepreneur at my core, I always lean towards business and financial opportunities first.

I prefer deals that seem obvious and have limited downside risk, whether a deeply undervalued, high quality asset, or a business with huge demand and low up-front costs.

Despite the dismal state of most economies, I see these types of opportunities everywhere in my travels, totaling over a dozen countries in just the last month.

Over the last few years, for instance, there’s been staggering growth of international Chinese tourists, particularly to Europe. I’ve seen the trend unfold with my own eyes.

Everywhere I go, I see hundreds of them– at airports, train stations, and top tier hotels. Even here in tiny Lithuania (which is not exactly Europe’s #1 tourist destination), there are droves of Chinese tourists running around the city.

Now, the growth and scale of Chinese tourism is no major revelation. Last year, the US-based travel conglomerate Expedia (which was actually started by Microsoft) purchased eLong, China’s #2 online travel site.

I had breakfast with a senior Expedia executive a few months ago, and I remember one story he told me quite well. He said that when they first entered the market, a lot of Chinese consumers were skeptical (or unable) to make online purchases.

They solved the problem by hiring an army of bicycle messengers who literally peddle all over China taking cash-on-delivery for plane and train tickets. As the executive told me, the opportunity was obvious, they just had to figure out how to make it work.

While it’s clear that the big boys in the travel industry understand this trend, there is still an obvious opportunity related to Chinese tourism.

Very few, if any, western tourist locations are Chinese-friendly. Basic interaction, food, transit, etc. are simply not set up for a Mandarin-speaking audience. English is the international language, and a lot of Chinese travelers don’t speak it.

That’s one of the reasons why they roam in packs. At the hotel I was staying last week, the Chinese tour group easily exceeded 100.  Chinese tourists do tend to travel in groups, but it’s even more pronounced on international voyages. For them, there’s strength in numbers.

These people are not broke, either. They have a lot of money, they stay in top-quality hotels, and they want to shop. Again, though, there are very few Chinese-friendly options available.

The potential of this market is trapped, and it’s a huge opportunity that few are taking advantage of.

Tour operators in China do their best to arrange excursions, but it pales in comparison to what could be done. Someone could create tremendous value by facilitating transactions between these potentially buyers and sellers… essentially helping to create a marketplace.

This type of business is scalable; it could be done on a small, local level in individual cities and tourist hotspots, or on a much larger, international level.  The demand is there, the door is open.

This is just one example… but it goes to show that regardless of how much money they print or how many freedoms they try to take away, there are always great opportunities out there.

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battle axe's picture

Huh? Why is this on Zerohedge?

CommunityStandard's picture

From the ZH Manifesto:

our mission:

  • to widen the scope of financial, economic and political information available to the professional investing public.

Or should we only include the same viewpoint in all posts?

On the flip side, the site needs to make money too...

4horse's picture

. . . totaling over a dozen countries in just the last month.

wherever you are, there you are





selfish selfcentered and just full-of-yourself




Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Pretty sure 'Simon Black' is sponsoring ZH to show his articles.  Its the only thing that makes sense.  They definitely don't appear by merit!

I remember a classic Simon Black article where he was doing his usual sell job of 'internationalizing' which just so happens to be his specialty, and he is trying to turn this specific 'service aimed at the Elite' into a 'service aimed at the middle class/average man' (just the typical business strategy of trying to find new markets for an existing service) and he says "There's no return to being involved in politics", implying "Why bother trying to change things, nothing will ever change, instead play the game, I'll even help show you how, and worst comes to worse, you will be ready, because you will have a home and a business in another country".

Except... Its wrong.  Nothing could provide as great a 'return' as making your country a better place to live for your children and grandchildren.  And on the other hand, nothing has as great a return in the current economic climate as bribing politicians (hence why its so important for the populace to be educated and demand justice). 

Basically he is a complete sell out, and is trying to convert the rest of us through his use of moral relativism.

Tinky's picture

Were the Jews who escaped Nazi Germany prior to the war "sell outs"? Sure, it's an extreme analogy, but not as ridiculous as you may think.

Things could get quite bad in the U.S., and to label those who choose to relocate elsewhere as "wrong" is ridiculous. I admire those who choose to stay and fight for a better, more just society, but if the U.S. is truly the "Land of the Free", then people have every right to live wherever they choose.

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Choosing to relocate is fine, but then what about if things go sour where you have relocated?  Just relocate again?  And again?  Again and again and again?  Never standing up to the psychopaths?   In your WWII 'analogy' the sell outs were the Zionists who sold out their 'fellow' Jews, these Zionists were adamant Jews should not be let into America, Canada, etc. so they would have nowhere to turn except Palestine. 

Yes, its better to live to fight another day, but does that justify plain simple running away?

Tinky's picture

There are never any guarantees, so if one chooses to relocate outside of the U.S., there will of course be risks. But those risks may not be as great as remaning here.

Plenty of Jews (inlcude many of my relatives) made it to the U.S., Argentina, etc. before the war, and the Zionist issue is a red herring.

"Running away" is not only grossly simplistic, but ignorant as well. Choosing a potentially better life for one's self (and one's family) is a thoroughly rational thing to do. No one is obligated to stick around and be a part of the daunting task of helping to turn around a thoroughly corrupt, collapsing empire. Again, I admire those who make that choice, but wouldn't presume to pass judgment on those who choose a different path.

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Risks of remaining here?

Are you worried about society becoming LESS just than it currently is?  Or are you worried that general ignorance combined with widespread rage will 'spill over', rendering justice obsolete? 

You come across like someone who is trying to convince themself of something.

Tinky's picture

There is no doubt about the general ignorance of the poulace, and little doubt that "widespread rage will 'spill over'". Will it render justice obsolete? I don't expect so, though it will be very unpleasant for most Americans.

uniman's picture

Risks of remaining here (presumably in the US)

Hell yeah.  How about horrific police/surveilance state?  As their system disintegrates absolutely _anything_ you do to protect yourself is going to be taken from you, all the way down to collecting rainwater or growing your own garden.  When does teaching your children about these issues turn into child-abuse? Plenty of people will just disappear to serve as scapegoats and examples to intimidate the rest.  At some point civil war emerges because the Entitleds are unlikely to gracefully adapt to a new situation.  You can't save or reform this evil system.  All you can do is let entropy wipe it clean and then start over.  Get the hell out of town now while you can and watch the annihilation of DC on TV instead.

Justice will never be obsolete but it's going to be very painful.  Got a problem? Tell it to Judge Nature.

nodhannum's picture


Thank G_d some of my teen aged relatives (died here iin the US some 20 years ago) (and their parents) jumped ship and came to the US in 1933 after finding one of their friends killed in the woods near their home in deutschland with a swatiska pinned to his chest.  Sometimes you get the feeling that the natives are not friendly.  Surely you are Pro Choice when it comes to getting the hell Out of Dodge!


tulip_permabull's picture

Your relatives were lucky to get out of Germany when they did. They escaped the genocidal Allied bombing.

Popo's picture

I have lived for many years in 2 of the countries Simon writes about often, and do business in Cambo and Laos. Simon doesn't know the first thing about operating businesses in emerging markets, and if he did he'd be writing on articles on "How big a bribe is too much?", "How to prevent the government from seizing your company and politely showing you the door", or "Is there a chance your business partner is going to kill you?". He really knows nothing, He's a blogger. Period. He hasn't the first clue about emerging markets, tax laws, legal disputes, customs issues, etc. .. and his constant pumping of "it's better over here" is just ignorance targeted at the more ignorant.

Emerging markets present opportunities, yes. Easy, risk free opportunities? He must be spending a lot of time in his hotel room...

He's a wanker.

A Lunatic's picture

I rather enjoyed his observation on why the Chinese roam in packs. I look forward to an in depth analysis of the herding instincts of illegal Mexican nationals in L.A.

Tinky's picture

Tend to cluster around fuzzy dice? (Anecdotal – I haven't done any proper research.)

one_fell_swoop's picture

"...and his constant pumping of "it's better over here" is just ignorance targeted at the more ignorant."


That's pretty much the modus operandi of Zero Hedge right there.

same old story's picture

Yes, I do love his deep insight.  I was sitting in the hotel lobby drinking a G & T and wow why doesn't someone do this.  


Curious can you share what you do.

mkkby's picture

" He must be spending a lot of time in his hotel room..."

He says he's been to 12 countries in a month.  That can only mean he spends all his time in airports and hotel rooms.  There's no other time for anything else.

To get to know anything, you need to spend weeks and months there.  Not a few hours going from airport to taxi to hotel, and back again.  He may meet one or two people who will merely talk their book.  You gotta get out and about.

battle axe's picture

CommunityStandard: You consider this  to "widen the scope of financial, economic and political information", if so, try reading a little more. This article is pathetic and below the standards of ZH. If you do not think so, you should go to another website, because you do not belong here. 

TheGardener's picture

Why is this still on ZH? Simon Schwartz always sucked.

I don`t even get the counter argument, editorial fool ever good for controversial discussion?

Sadly, I only see seed content for artificial anti-semitic
responses. The worst of exploitative attitudes exemplified.
What a shame. Black off, Simon...

Bringin It's picture

Now this is getting interesting.  Gardener do you know tree-planter?  That's a tangent.  ANTI_SEMETIC!!!  Where??  What are you talking about???  I understand the exploitative attitudes exemplified, but the anti-s word???  I think you've lost your mind.

Wait a minute ... I think I get it.  You think everyone's going to goof on Simon because he's Jewish?  Is he?  So what?

Popo - above is clearly the real deal.  I don't mean Jewish, though he may or may not be.  I mean his example issues on what you really need to know about doing business in SE Asia are clearly from experience.  On a positive note, the bites are often tiny by Western standards.

I get stopped in a speed trap in LOS $3, lots of appologies, pay on the spot. 

I get stopped in a speed trap in CA $120, lots of cool indifference.

TheGardener's picture

"but the anti-s word??? I think you've lost your mind."

Yes you are not far off, anti-s words are worth a lot of junks because serious discussion has been abandoned for
bad. Problem is my account get`s abused by this drunk,
even wrote to Tyler to have it removed...

Catch-22's picture

Afternoon interlude for those bored/frustrated by the racket market

Who would have thought there would be something interesting at the Barcelona Junior World Championship?  ... and in the hurdles I might add!

(I’m not wasting your time… I promise, check it out!)


11b40's picture

Bravisimo!  Oh, to be 21 again!

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Oh my!   And she dominated the race too!

Ying-Yang's picture

I swear that the tattoo on her belly says "Made by ZH", but I could be wrong.

mrdenis's picture

I just hope they understand that if they are successful, that somebody along the line gave them some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in their life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable communist  system that they have that allowed them to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. they must understand If they have a business, they didn't build that . The point is, is that when they succeed, they succeed because of our country helped them along , but also because they must do things together.

magpie's picture

That kind of talk would go well with the Great Wall for instance...

Raymond K Hessel's picture

Or with the Pyramids.

You see that pyramid.  I didn't build it on my own.  I had you pull tons of stone up ramps and place them where I told you they had better be placed.  

It wasn't just me who told you.

You see this whip.  This whip also helped you build that pyramid.

magpie's picture

The basic premise though is that Pyramids and Great Walls are not small businesses and no businessman has laid claim to them (perhaps i am wrong there ), well unless a tour operator like Mr. Black took such initiative instead.

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

Probably the pyramid was made using an early form of concrete (cement).  Doesn't diminish the accomplishment, but does answer some of the 'mysteries' regarding the moving of blocks, how the blocks were 'fit' so close together, etc.

magpie's picture

Who knows...perhaps they will be destroyed in a few years. A few weeks ago i saw artifacts made from the Bamian Buddha.

Herd Redirection Committee's picture

The 'tourist' part of the "Great Wall" was 'renovated' no less than 50 years ago.  But they renovated it in a 'historically accurate' manner, I promise, no embellishment or improvement or hyperbole was made, it was just 'renovated'.

FEDbuster's picture

The Chinese will be coming here, in transport planes and aircraft carriers.

magpie's picture

'The Golden Gate Bridge' - you didn't build that !

1984's picture

Ahhh.  Aphorisms that belong in a little red book.

magpie's picture

It's really quite hard to sound bolshevik and patronizing at the same time, for most people.

Big Corked Boots's picture

I suppose the Chilean pick-your-own operation isn't doing too well.

The Big Ching-aso's picture



Chinese tourists in Europe.  Ya, the riots there will obviously be better than Beijing's. 

Yen Cross's picture

 I'm long " desalination plants" /sarc

  Freaking Korn is getting expensive!

Ying-Yang's picture

How's that ethanol working out?

NotApplicable's picture

So great that they're going to bump it up from 10% to 15%.

Got Genocide?

Cardinal Fang's picture

Um, they're not 'tourists' would be facilitating PLA espionage activities.

Cardinal Fang's picture

hmm, seems I've upset 1 Chinese spy. You weren't the 'tourist' I saw at the American Helicopter Museum? Well you should be happy now. You can go to some other museums where we have space shuttles on display for you, too.

Real Estate Geek's picture

Opportunity?  More like an opportunity to lose money.  Simon obviously has no experience dealing with Chinese tour groups.  In my experience, which is limited to only one city, the tour operators' M.O. is to book for 90 people, and show up with 100.  Up to the hotel/bus operator/attraction operator to figure out how to accommodate them, and good luck trying to collect the add'l. cost from the tour operator.

Although you have to watch out for Chinese tour operators, Chinese tourists are fine.  Clueless, but that's no different than tourists from any other place.