GEORGE TOWN: Thousands of Chinese tourists, said to be members of MBI Group, were having a shopping spree at M Mall in Penang Times Square.
The five-day shopping carnival organised by the group saw the members spending their loyalty reward points at the mall on groceries, household products and other items.
Among the crowd, business owner Li Tie Zhu, 45, from Yingchuan, China, was spotted carrying shopping bags during the carnival which would end on Tuesday.
Li said he used his MBI loyalty reward points to exchange for goods at the mall.
“I bought mostly coffee. We will definitely want to come again,” he said.
Another tourist, who wished to be known as Shen, said shopping in Penang is appealing.
“Besides shopping, we also get to do some sightseeing here as well,” she said.
Tour guide Gong Qingjie said his group comprised some 30 tourists from the Heilongjiang province in China.
“In total, there’s probably around 200 from the province who are here,” he said.
He added that they arrived in Malaysia on Thursday and would be going to Danok, Thailand, today.
The mall, set up by the company in December 2015, sells various consumer products apart from featuring restaurants and other service outlets.
The MBI members also attended their awards night at SPICE Arena last night.
Many Penangites seemed to be aware of the large influx of Chinese tourists coming in bus loads as messages on phone chat groups telling friends to avoid the SPICE Arena and town area have gone viral.
Many hotels, especially in the city, are fully booked until early next week.
“This happened before. They bring many family members along to visit Penang while the members attend the company’s dinner and activities.
“Most of the hotels on the island were fully booked.
“Their hotel bookings even went as far as Ipoh,” said a hotel manager who declined to be name.
The company started in Penang and is now headquartered in Kuala Lumpur.