Here are this week’s news and highlights for China:
Why is it Popular? SK-II & the Crusade Against ‘Leftover Women’ Stigmas: A new short weekly blog from China Skinny tagged ‘detailing marketing initiatives with meaning’. Each week we’ll look at one instance of marketing in China that stood out and helped us understand Chinese consumers a bit better.
Making China Great Again: A great synopsis from Evan Osnos of the Xi-Trump dramas and wider rise of China. Osnos includes both well-known and behind-the-scenes examples such as last year’s WTO meeting in Morocco where rules on trade in agriculture and seafood were updated – China was very present while there were no Americans for two days of meetings.
How a Show about Antiques Won Over Chinese Millennials: CCTV’s National Treasures highlights three significant artefacts from one of nine museums around China, enlisting famous actors to tap into a growing group of younger viewers eager to learn more about traditional Chinese culture.
Netizens Get Nostalgic After ’90s Milestone: WeChat and Weibo have been awash with nostalgia as millions of netizens have posted pictures of themselves at age 18 with the arrival of 2018, meaning the last of the post-90s millennials have turned 18 and entered adulthood.
How China’s Perception Of Westerners Has Changed: Kaiser Kuo’s views about how Chinese attitudes to the West have changed, particularly since 2008. Some of the comments are worth reading too.
How I Almost Became a Chinese Spy – Reflections on China’s Age of Anxiety: A thoughtful reflection from journalist Angus Griggs after five years of reporting in China. Behind China’s astonishing numbers there remains some not-so boast-worthy statistics and a deep-rooted anxiety [paywall].
The Memes Distracting China in 2017 Reflected Deep Anxieties About Haves and Have-Nots: Although pride about China’s stature in the world is felt by many, there was also uneasiness over the future. Here are eight memes that represented how China has been feeling over the past 12-months.
Chinese Consumers Fret Healthcare and Education Costs in 2018: For the third year running food safety is the greatest concern across all city tiers and income groups according to an FT poll. Compared to last year, Chinese consumers were more worried about their wages and the cost of living, with people in first-tier cities more concerned about the economy than in lower tier cities. Education and healthcare ranked high among residents of larger cities, higher income households, women and older age groups.
Internet Users in China Expect to Be Tracked. Now, They Want Privacy: Alibaba’s Ant Financial apologised to users and later said it would conduct sweeping reviews of all its businesses after prompting an outcry by automatically enrolling some users in its social credit program. The anger represents a nascent, but growing demand for increased privacy and data protections online as the use of big data becomes widespread in China. Just days earlier the chairman of Geely Holding Group and Volvo Cars publicly bemoaned the lack of privacy on WeChat.
Western Provinces Leading Ecommerce Growth, Alibaba Says: Two of China’s poorest provinces Guizhou and Gansu saw the fastest growth in online retail as China’s ecommerce phenomenon reaches every corner of China. Ecommerce grew 32% overall last year. Zhejiang, Guangzhou and Beijing remain the top-3 online sales per capita, with Tibet suprisingly taking the fourth spot. Alibaba’s sales of global brands increased 51% year-on-year during the first 11 months of 2017. Sales of French wine, Thailand’s fragrance products and baby formula from the Netherlands were the fastest growing cross border products.
China’s Drinking Habits are Changing, and That’s a Big Opportunity for Beverage Makers: Chinese consumers are preferring to drink less and choose premium products at business dinners or during formal social occasions, focusing more on quality and taste. Wine drinking is growing against dropping alcohol consumption overall. Craft beer is riding the trend in big cities with the country now boasting over 1,500 domestic beer brands.
Extensive Chinese Fish Fraud Revealed by DNA Study: 58% of the popular Xue Yu roasted fish fillet in China is fraudulently mislabelled according to Food Control. Xue Yu can fetch more than ¥300/kg ($46).
China Shuts Marriott’s Website Over Tibet and Taiwan Error: The Chinese websites and app of Marriott International have been shut down for a week, after the firm mistakenly listed Tibet, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as individual nations in an online survey sent to customers. The hotel group’s chief executive has issued an apology, saying his firm “respects and supports Chinese sovereignty and its territorial integrity”. Qantas, Delta Airlines, Zara and Medtronic have all since made public apologies and amended their websites for similar territory issues.
Chinese Consumers Pick Safety as Top Priority for Infant Goods: According to a survey around two thirds of Chinese consumers purchase infant products at shops specialising in infant goods, with just 10% shopping online. 62% prefer specialty shops as they can guarantee the quality of products, while 38% said they liked the wide variety offered. China’s infant goods market increased 15.9% in 2016 to $289 billion.
In China, Pets Were Once Banned. Now Millennials Send their Dogs to Spas: 1:37 video: Organic cupcakes, heated swimming pools, trips to the pooch cinema and birthday parties costing thousands are all part of the treatment many pet dogs get in China.
China 2017 Box Office Wrap-Up: Hollywood Movies Grab $3.26 Billion, Disney Leads: Unexpected turns included some unlikely hits, some surprise flops, rapid shifts in audience tastes, and perhaps most stunningly, the dominance of Chinese movies at the top of the box office charts. Import controls, marketing rules, release dates and blackouts that favour local films helped keep American-produced pictures share at just over 40% of the market grossing a combined $3.26 billion – 19% more than 2016, although a third of the rise coming from the addition of ticketing fees to the count. Chinese productions took out five of the top six titles.