BEIJING: Certain local brands are as sought after by Chinese travelling overseas as the more obvious luxury names, a new analysis has shown.

6Estates, a digital insights firm, carried out an assessment of nearly 300,000 conversations on social platforms and travel websites during the last quarter of 2015 and collated the brand preferences of mainland Chinese tourists going to the most popular destinations.

The preferred destination for outbound travellers was the US (46%), followed by Japan (26%), Hong Kong (21%) and Singapore (5%), and most declared an intention to shop for clothing, cosmetics, luxury goods and watches.

But a key finding, Inside Retail Asia reported, was that in each market some local brands were just as desirable as international luxury brands like Chanel and Herm├Ęs.

It highlighted the attractions of fashion brands Coach in the US and Uniqlo in Japan, and cosmetics chain store Sasa in Hong Kong.

While Singapore also boasted a desired fashion brand in the shape of Charles & Keith, it was the only country where food was a focus for Chinese travellers, as the study revealed they were talking about Bee Cheng Hiang, a barbecued pork delicacy.

"We were able to pinpoint top destinations within each country, valuable information for tourism boards and retailers targeting tourists," explained Gary Chin, 6Estates CEO and co-founder.

"In Japan, for example, we worked with a leading advertising agency to find out where Chinese tourists travelled to, and what they were saying about their experiences.

"With the findings, it will be possible to develop more targeted tourism campaigns that speak directly to the Chinese audience," he added.

The importance of Chinese tourism has grown rapidly in recent years, with more than 109m travelling overseas in 2015, a number predicted to hit 200m by 2020 when they will be spending $400bn in destination markets, according to a GfK survey.

Countries around the world have relaxed visa requirements in an attempt to capture some of this spending. Hotels and retailers are also making greater provision for Chinese tourists.

Data sourced from Inside Retail Asia; additional content by Warc staff