Here are this week’s news and highlights for China:
The 2019 Westpac Australia-China Business Sentiment Survey: Download the good-looking and comprehensive report here.
Almost One-Third of Chinese Cities are Shrinking, but Urban Planners Told to Keep Building: Satellite imagery that monitored the intensity of night lights in more than 3,300 Chinese cities and towns between 2013 and 2016, found the intensity of lights had dimmed in 28% of cities – 938 in total, according to Tsinghua University.
‘Strong Potential’ for Sharing Economy in China, Says Report: 91% of Chinese consumers say they have rented or bought second-hand bicycles/electric bicycles in the past year according to Mintel. 61% have done so with cars, 25% with books/audio-visual products, 25% with digital products such as mobile phones and cameras, 18% furniture and 12% home appliances such as fridges. While the clothes and accessories sharing category has been making headlines, just 9% of urban Chinese consumers have rented or bought them second-hand. 86% appreciate the convenience of sharing products, 59% cite affordability and 51% recognise it is good for the environment.
From Alibaba to Gucci, How Jack Ma’s ‘New Retail’ Model Puts China Ahead of the Game: Powered by analytics, new supply chain strategies and technological innovation, the New Retail concept has transformed the shopping world.
Amazon Live Is Alibaba’s Live-Streaming Without The Good Bits: The recently-launched Amazon Live is another example of America’s big tech firms getting good ideas from Chinese tech innovations. Last year, 84 Taobao stores made over $7.4 million each in sales through Taobao live-stream broadcasts, with 23 stores having achieved $15 million or more. Taobao predicts that over the next three years, live-streaming on Taobao will generate over 500 billion sales transactions. 1,200 livestream influencers on Taobao have more than a million fans. Over 100,000 live streamers promoted farm products on Taobao and 60% of sales among top-selling jewellery stores came from live-streaming.
Alibaba Revs Up Services as Smaller Cities See Growth: One of Alibaba’s major goals for 2019 is to help consumers in tier-4 and tier-5 cities and rural areas buy more products – 80% of the Taobao’s new users between July and September last year were from these areas.
Huawei Defies Global Troubles With Accelerating Sales Growth: Even with all the bad press in the West, Huawei’s revenue for first two months of 2019 surged 36% from a year earlier says its founder.
Forget Avocado Toast: This Vegetable is the Taste of Financial ‘Freedom’ in China: The first spring leaves of the Chinese mahogany tree are being talked about as a gauge of financial health among the middle class – or China’s avocado toast. Popular in the north, it tastes a bit like onion and costs $12-$30 for 500g.
What Does 2019 Hold for China’s Pork Import Market?: After seeing a 2% decrease in pork import volumes last year, pork imports to China are expected to double this year, with alternative meats such as chicken and beef also expected to grow strongly. China’s top 7 pork producers accounted for less than 7% of the market in 2018, highlighting the fragmented nature of the market and providing yet more challenges in dealing with the African swine fever.
China’s Baby-Care Market Sees Rapid Growth: Between 2013-2018, China’s baby care market grew 19% annually on average. Baby skincare is the largest segment of the market, accounting for 60%, with the baby-bath and soap segment at 31%, followed by the baby-hair products at around 10%. Insect repellents for babies was the fastest-growing sector last year, with as many as 47% of Chinese consumers aged 20-39 with children aged up to three years old claiming to have used them. 34% of parents say their biggest concern when choosing products is not knowing if it is suitable for their babies, while 32% say they are afraid to try products they have not used before. 29% say they do not know the ingredients used in the products, and lack understanding of the advantages of one brand versus another.
China’s Wealthy Families are Turning to Long Holidays Abroad as Efforts to Emigrate Halted: Foreign lifestyle experiences are becoming more popular as citizens seek to escape pollution, food and medicine safety worries and authoritarian government controls. The availability of multiple-entry tourist visas and the sharp drop in air ticket prices have made it convenient and practical to stay abroad for from a few weeks to up to three months each year.
A Hit TV Series in China Skewers Cranky Old Parents: Provincial TV show “All is Well” starring Yao Chen had been a top-10 trending hashtag on Weibo for 20 days and counting. It has been streamed more than 390m times, 278 million times more than the next most popular television series. The series breaks the usual mould of Chinese TV series, questioning the blind attachment to traditional values, particularly highlighting the favouritism sons receive over daughters.
Suits to Dominate Chinese Women’s Fashion in 2019, Report Says: Both male and female shoppers are making bolder, more gender-bending clothing choices according to Taobao which has seen a 317% increase in women buying suits in the first quarter of this year. The popularity of women wearing suits may be partially attributable to Yao Chen wearing suits in “All is Well”. Meanwhile, Chinese men have embraced clothing and accessories previously considered effeminate, as a growing number are now purchasing items with a “lacy style and see-through design”.
Beauty is the New Buzzword in China’s Tech World: From virtual makeovers, to a magic mirror with an AI-powered smart speaker that offers beauty tips, monitors UV levels and can even help order cosmetic products on Tmall, to 3D nail polish printers which allow users to upload a design via a mobile app and print the customized nail polish on the spot; Chinese consumers are spoilt with clever new tech accessories for beauty.
Half of Chinese Luxury Spending to be Domestic by 2025: Bain & Co: China’s luxury market grew 20% year-on-year in 2018 for the second straight year thanks in part to millennials and women. Four key takeaways from 2018 are: 1) Import duty reductions, stricter control over grey markets, and price harmonisation are expected to see the domestic share of Chinese spending increase from 27% in 2018 to around half in 2025; 2) The gap between winners and losers will continue to grow; 3) Cosmetics was a big winner in the segment last year; and 4) Brands are increasing their spend on digital platforms, particularly WeChat.