China may soon be New Zealand's second largest tourist market.
The latest international visitor survey produced by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment shows China as the standout performer over the past year.
The ministry's tourism research and evaluation manager, Peter Ellis, says that in the past 12 months, spending by Chinese visitors to the country increased by 27% to $522 million - only $45 million less than what visitors from Britain spent.
Mr Ellis says China already spends more tourist dollars than Germany and the United States, and it will not be long before it overtakes Britain.
Australian visitors, New Zealand's largest tourist market, spent $1.6 billion.