Chinese visitors have outpaced Koreans in terms of spending at local duty-free shops here for the first time.
According to data submitted to the National Assembly by Korea Customs Service on Sunday, Chinese nationals spent US$863.38 million in the first seven months of this year to become the biggest spenders at duty-free shops.
Koreans ranked second with $845.75 million, followed by Japanese ($196.39 million), Americans ($22.4 million), Taiwanese ($6.07 million) and Thais ($2.15 million).
Chinese tourists have continued to splurge here in recent years. They spent $633.46 million in 2011, following Japanese ($780.42 million). But last year, they overtook Japanese ($665.93 million) to rank as the No. 2 spenders with $1.06 billion.
Koreans held on to the top spot until last year, when they bought $1.63 billion worth of goods.