2015 was a good year to be an aspiring billionaire in China. It was when the country added 90 new tycoons, passing the USA to top the billionaire count at 568. It was also the year Beijing pipped New York to become the billionaire capital of the world, and the first city to ever house 100 billionaires. Greater China now accounts for half of the world’s top-10 cities that billionaires call home, with 10 of the top-15 being in Asia.
While Beijing’s fat cats are gleefully backstroking through their cauldrons of cash, the good news may be tarnished by the results of a recent Duke University-led study into the effects of Beijing’s pollution.
It’s well-known that China’s pollution has devastating effects on the rates of asthma and other respiratory diseases and, more horrifyingly, cancer. The World Health Organisation went as far as declaring air pollution as carcinogenic in 2013. But it seems the tentacles of China’s pollution span much further.
The Duke study found that rats exposed to Beijing’s polluted air, gained more weight than rats breathing the good clean stuff. Levels of cholesterol increased, as did triglycerides – a type of fat found in blood that raises the risk coronary artery disease when at high levels. Even the likelihood of developing Type 2 diabetes was higher.
Add increasingly sedentary lifestyles to China’s pollution, stir in a pinch of stressful urban living and more processed food, and it should come as no surprise that Chinese health rates are worsening and obesity rates are climbing. It’s also no revelation that consumption of healthy food and beverage is soaring in China, Western medicine sales grew 12.3% last year, bumper demand for vitamins and supplements has been a boon for businesses such as Blackmores, whose stock price rose more than 600% last year, and China’s sportswear market is poised to surpass the domestic luxury market by 2020.
One of the few things that we can be certain about China in the years ahead, is that demand for health-related products and services are only going to increase, providing numerous opportunities for brands who understand and engage Chinese consumers. China Skinny can assist with that.
For our Shanghai-based readers, next Thursday evening 10 March, China Skinny’s Mark Tanner will be discussing the opportunities, challenges and new features of WeChat to reach Chinese consumers, sharing some realistic and actionable advice. Click here for more information. Go to Page 2 to see this week’s China news and highlights.