Here are this week’s news and highlights for China:
China Marketing Trends for 2018: The Year of the Dog: The 10 big trends we think every brand and marketer should be across this year in China.
US Firms Want Trump Administration to Press China for More Level Playing Field: Amcham China’s annual Business Climate Survey found US businesses aren’t in favour of a trade war with China, but want Trump to take a firmer stance on attaining a more balanced economic and commercial relationship. American businesses are increasingly upbeat about China with nearly two-thirds of members reporting revenue growth and nearly three-quarters reporting they are profitable – the highest proportion in three years. Nearly six in 10 companies rank China among their top three investment priorities, up from the 2017 but still below the historical average.
Macron and May: A Tale of Two China Visits: During French President Macron’s visit to China last month, he expressed a desire to establish a balanced win-win relationship with the rules defined by both China and Europe. May had noticeably less clout due to Brexit and was also pushing for fair trade practices, but her refusal to sign the MOU for Xi Jinping’s Belt & Road pet project made some Chinese officials doubt the so-called “golden era” in relations with the UK. France hasn’t yet endorsed the project, but adopted a firmer position by wanting France to take a more active part in the initiative.
Foreign Brands Feature Chinese-Themed Symbols for Year of the Dog: This year sees the usual suspects promoting zodiac-themed watches, makeup, jewellery, bags, clothes and shoes – Nike’s themed Air Force 1 shoes are similar to their Year-of-the-Dog-themed Air Force 1 kicks for the last Dog year 12 years ago.
Aiming at China’s Armpits: When Foreign Brands Misfire: Unilever brought its Rexona deodorant to China a decade ago, dreaming of a market with 2.6 billion armpits. But cultural differences and simple biology — scientists have shown that many East Asian people don’t have Westerners’ body odor issues — scotched those plans. Sales totalled only a fraction of the Chinese marketing budget for Rexona. By some estimates, less than 10% of Chinese use deodorant.
Behind the Great Firewall, China’s Internet is Thriving – Even in Rural Areas: 772 million Chinese were online at the end of last year – 40.74 million (5.6%) more than in 2016. 97.5% of China’s internet users connect by mobile. 55.8% of the population are connected including 73% of urban residents, with rural residents poised to be the next growth area. 47% of China’s rural internet users had adopted mobile payments by the end of 2017, up from 32% in 2016.
The Chinese eCommerce App Making Shopping Social: In a little over two years since launching, Pinduoduo has served 300 million customers by offering deals that get cheaper the more people buy, encouraging a flurry of shoppers promoting the app to their networks. In the last 6-months of 2017, an average of 1.08 million people signed up a day – less than Taobao, but more than JD. 92.4% of users are outside tier 1 cities, a much lower rate than Alibaba and JD.
Alibaba Targets China’s Aging Population with ‘Taobao for Elders’: Alibaba has launched an “elderly friendly” version of its shopping app Taobao with an enlarged and less-busy interface. It also includes a new peer-to-peer chat function, allowing family members to share products and consult or help one another in one click, as well as a new “pay-for-me” option. 30 million Taobao users are currently over 50, spending an average of nearly ¥5,000 ($796) shopping online on 44 products annually. Alibaba’s active shoppers reached 515 million by the end of 2017.
Want to Get Consumers to Buy into Your Brand? Digital is the Way Forward: 94% of Chinese consumers now expect their offline and online shopping activities to be integrated into a seamless omnichannel journey according to Accenture.
Video: Click Farms of Phantom Users Flood China’s $50 Billion Online Advertising Market: For $0.47-$11, click farms can create 10,000 phantom users, inflating views and adding fake feedback on China’s social sites. A third of all online advertising spending is estimated to go to waste from fake views. Up to 90% of the views of some of China’s most popular video sites are fake, according to state media reports.
Nestlé Opens KitKat-Inspired Hsu Fu Chi Retailer in China: Nestlé has opened a ‘taste workshop’ under its Hsu Fu Chi brand in Dongguan. Its 60%-owned Hsu Fu Chi brand is known for candy, sweet cakes and famous cereal bar Sachima and hopes the experience centre will attract health-focused millennial shoppers.
Fresh Food Ecommerce Booms in China: Online sales of fresh food grew by 59.7% last year to ¥139.1 billion ($22.1 billion) according to iResearch. Fruit is the most frequently bought fresh item online, followed by dairy products and vegetables. 30.7% of customers hoped to receive their goods within several hours, while 28.8% hoped for delivery between 30 minutes and one hour. Last month, the logistics arm of JD.com signed a cooperation agreement with Air China Cargo to try a new business model for the direct purchase and delivery of fresh foods from their production areas.
Costly Antarctic Trip Popular Among Spring Festival Tourists: Overseas travellers will spend an average of ¥9,580 ($1,510) during the Spring Festival holiday based on data from group tours and DIY trips on Ctrip and bricks & mortar bookings. Antartica trips are the most expensive holidays at ¥160,000 ($25,440), followed by Argentina, Brazil, Tahiti, Norway, Tanzania, Iceland, Mexico, New Zealand and Finland. Families and lovers form the majority of tourists, with the average family spending ¥100,000 ($15,900).
Alipay Sends Eight Chinese Tourists on a Cashless Experiment in Finland: Eight Chinese tourists selected from a social media campaign late last year are being flown to Finland by AliPay to showcase the widespread acceptance of the payment system in the country including retail, flights and dining throughout their trip.
China’s Wanda to Sell Stake in Film Subsidiary to Alibaba: Alibaba and state-backed Cultural Investment Holdings have bought a 13% stake in Wanda Film for $1.24 billion. Wanda remains the largest shareholder with about 48% of the subsidiary, which controls China’s largest cinema chain. Wanda Film operates 516 theatres and 4,571 screens, accounting for 14% of China’s growing film market. Also this week, Dreamworks sold out of its China joint venture.