Here are this week’s news and highlights for China:
The 2017 RTG Consulting Brand Relevance Report Reveals Significant Gains For Chinese Brands: Adidas has been rated the most relevant fashion brand by Chinese consumers according to RTG. Yili tops food & beverage, Estee Lauder for beauty, Rejoice for personal care, Four Seasons for hospitality, Volkswagen for auto, Chanel for luxury, Huawei for electronics & tech and WeChat for mobile apps – with Amazon being the only international brand to make the top-20 apps.
China Wants People to Stop Comparing its President to Winnie the Pooh: China’s Ministry of Culture has been cited as saying Winnie-the-Pooh content would be taken down in China due to its resemblance to the Chinese leader, with a number of Pooh memes of President Xi having been circulated online since 2013. In related news, the censorship of the death of Liu Xiaobo has illustrated just how sophisticated China’s social screening technology has become, with image filtering on WeChat on one-to-one chats, group chats and WeChat Moments.
From Bicycles to Basketballs, Everything’s on Loan in China’s Sharing Economy: Last year, China’s sharing economy transactions were worth more than $500 billion and involved some 600 million people. It could account for 10% of China’s GDP by 2020 according to the State Information Center.
A Chinese Umbrella-Sharing Start-Up Just Lost Nearly All of its 300,000 Umbrellas: With all the buzz around China’s sharing economy, it turns out that not everything can be shared.
Fonterra to Build Two Cream Cheese Plants in NZ for Growing Chinese Market: The “tea macchiato” that combines tea, cream and cream cheese is just one of the bold new ways that Chinese consumers are using dairy products, which has prompted Fonterra to invest $112 million USD in new dairy plants in New Zealand. Chinese had “fewer preconceived notions” about how dairy products should be consumed because up until now they had not been a staple in the diet. This has led to some of the most innovative dairy product development anywhere in the world.
Icelandic Glacial Enters China’s premium Bottled Water Segment: Icelandic Glacial plans to tap into China’s $16.4 billion bottled water market through Golden Field’s high end retailers, restaurants and nightclubs, followed by convenience stores. 70% of premium water drinkers think the high quality water source is the most important feature.
China Buys 140,000 Canadian Lobsters in One Day: In a joint promotion with the government of Canada and Canadian seafood exporters, JD.com sold 140,000 fresh lobsters on July 14, shipped and delivered in China within 48 hours.
Foreign Nutritional Product Brands Seek New Growth Strategies in China Under More Regulated Market: Ecommerce platforms have replaced pharmacies as the second-largest sales channel for health supplement products. But direct-sales remain the top sales channel for nutritional products, accounting for 49% of total sales. Changes in online regulations have seen more foreign supplement businesses explore other channels such as direct sales through Blue Hat registration. About 700 imported health supplement products have been granted “blue hats” so far while 13,000 Chinese products have. 10% of consumers think Chinese domestic brands have higher quality with over 50% thinking international brands do according to a Roland Berger survey.
Number of Chinese Tourists Travelling Abroad Set to Hit 200 Million in 2020: Report: Following a tumultuous 2016 with terrorist attacks and lower spending in the US, CLSA remains bullish about Chinese tourists. Japan, Thailand and the US were voted as the top-3 leisure destinations in the coming three years, with Australia climbing to number 4 from 10th in the 2015 ‘Wish List’. If money was no issue, the US and France would be the most desirable destinations. 70% claim safety as the most important factor influencing destination choices, followed by travel costs and sightseeing.
The Profile of the Chinese Luxury Traveller 2017: Wealthy Chinese travellers’ preferences are shifting from leisure travel to adventure travel; desired destinations are seasonal; island destinations are a dark horse; Europe and Southeast Asian destinations are the top picks; luxury hotels remain the first choice with resorts being the favoured type with local cuisine topping hotel meals; more importance is being placed on comfort; customized travel services are starting to spread; and cosmetics, local produce, bags and suitcases, clothes and accessories, and jewellery are the most popular items to purchase abroad according to Hurun.
China Southern Plans Year-Round Cairns-Guangzhou Flights: Three direct flights a week will begin in December linking Guangzhou to Tropical Northern Queensland’s UNESCO world heritage attractions including the Great Barrier Reef, as well as providing easier access for agricultural produce from the region.
A-Bra-Cadabra! Chinese Woman Duped Into Spending $25,000 on ‘Magical’ Lingerie: A 35-year-old former snack shop manager from Wuhan was told high-priced bras and knickers harnessed the ‘power of the volcano’ using ancient Chinese techniques to boost blood flow to make women look younger and sexier. The Hong Kong beautician pulled down woman’s underwear and grabbed her breasts during hard sell.
31% of Chinese Consumers Believe a Fully Cashless Society will be Realised in 10 Years: 31% of online Chinese believe that a fully cashless society will be in place within 10 years, according to YouGov. Even though cash still reigns supreme for in-store purchases in the country (86%), mobile apps are gaining popularity too (73%). 62% of respondents felt that using mobile/cashless payments increases the chance of falling prey to fraud/theft.
Apple Runs Biggest Apple Pay Promotion in China Since its Launch, Offering Discounts & Rewards: Apple Pay is offering discounts of up to 50% and points rewards of up to 50 times the usual number for using the service at 28 major retail outlets and 16 online stores including 7-Eleven, Burger King, Costa Coffee, Watsons, Starbucks, GAP, Mobike, Ctrip and JD, in hope of wrestling some share from Alipay and WeChat Pay.
Chinese Audi Ad Backfires for Depicting Woman as Livestock: A 34-second Audi ad comparing a bride to a second hand car has been slammed on Chinese social media, followed by removal and an apology by the car company which saw sales drop 15% in the first half of 2017.