Thais top the gratuity stakes

Thais nationals have emerged as the most frequent tippers in the Asia-Pacific region in a survey recently conducted by MasterCard Worldwide _ an achievement which has raised eyebrows in some quarters since tipping in the Kingdom is far from being the norm it has become in other nations.

The poll was conducted from April 24 to June 10 via an online questionnaire plus a battery of interviews, both face-to-face and over the telephone. There were 6,904 respondents in all, aged 18 to 64, living in 14 different countries in this region.

MasterCard pollsters concluded that an average of 41% of Asia-Pacific consumers give tips in restaurants or bars. Top of the heap was Thailand where 89% of those surveyed said they regularly leave tips, with men (90%) claiming to be generous slightly more often than women (89%).

Second in the rankings was the Philippines (75%), followed by Hong Kong (71%), India (61%), Australia (55%), Malaysia and Indonesia (40%), Singapore 33%, Vietnam (30%), China (28%), New Zealand (20%), Taiwan (17%), South Korea (13%) and far behind was Japan (3%).

"Thai people are known for their generous nature and it's not surprising to see that they top the region when it comes to tipping," said Georgette Tan, group head of communications for the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa at MasterCard Worldwide.

What the latest MasterCard survey demonstrates most tellingly is the great cultural diversity and differences in consumer behaviour that exist across the region, she said, adding that understanding this multiplicity posed a big challenge for multinational companies seeking to do businesses in this part of the world.

The researchers' detailed findings can be found in the Dining & Entertainment module in the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Purchasing.