Here are this week’s news and highlights for China:
Burying ‘One Child’ Limits, China Pushes Women to Have More Babies: “To put it bluntly, the birth of a baby is not only a matter of the family itself, but also a state affair,” said a People’s Daily editorial prompting widespread criticism and debate online. China is hoping to encourage more couples to have children, with some provinces already tightening access to abortion or making it more difficult to get divorced. An article in Xinhua even suggested a ‘reproductive fund’ causing an uproar online.
Who’s Getting Most Sex? 4,000 Surveyed Tell All: Nearly half of Chinese people born in the 1990s have no sex life according to a survey by NetEase. People between 31 and 35 were found to be the most sexually active, with upwards of 40% saying they had sex at least twice a week. The proportion of people having sex at least once a week rose with income. People in smaller cities had more sex than their major metro-dwelling counterparts, except for Shenzhen.
Sleepless in China: Here’s What Consumers Get Up to Once Night Falls: Beijingers’ favourites are fried chicken and barbecued sticks of meat, whereas folk in Chengdu spend the most on supper, with hotpot the evening meal of choice according to Alibaba data. Hangzhou has the highest sales of alcohol at night. Online shopping on Taobao and Youku viewership peaks at 10pm and online payments at 11pm. Shanghai has the highest condom sales nationally, with midnight being the peak purchase time.
Consumption Gets Boost from Chinese Valentine’s Day: Although Qixi, Chinese Valentine’s Day, hasn’t historically been a big day of spending, there are signs that consumers are increasingly spoiling themselves and their partners for the festival. Sales of handbags on Tmall increased to 120,000 in the week leading up to Qixi, 60% more than the previous week.
China Trademark Theft. It’s Baaaaaack in a Big Way: About 5 or 6 years ago, the number of calls from someone who lost their trademark in China declined according to China Law Blog, then about a year ago, its lawyers started getting a ton of China trademark theft calls and the number of those calls has been accelerating ever since. The main reasons are everyone in China now knows the workarounds for registering a trademark that make it very difficult to invalidate, and factories are hurting at looking at ways to improve profits. In most cases the fault lies with the foreign companies, not with Chinese IP enforcement and as a result most challenges don’t end well, but there are options that sometimes work.
China Millennials Face Pension Shortfall: Just 44% of Chinese millennials aged 18-34 have begun putting money towards their pension savings. Some 40% of millennials plan to start saving when they turn 40, while 38% said they had never thought about saving for retirement. 58 is the expected average retirement age. [paywall]
Why Western Digital Firms Have Failed in China: Consistent failures of Western digital companies in China comes down to three themes: 1. Poor understanding of the business environment; 2. Ineffective marketing strategy and communication; and 3. Underperformance in operation and execution according to Cass Business School. Doing everything right in China is often not enough to guarantee success, due to strong competition.
China’s Live Streaming Sites Facing Another Attack on Porn and Illegal Content: The National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications has introduced a slew of new rules for China’s live streaming platforms to ensure they keep clean. By May the office announced that it had already shut down 22,000 pornography sites this year.
Third African Swine Fever Outbreak Hits China’s Hog Herd: Thousands of hogs have been culled after infections by the highly-infectious African Swine Fever have hit livestock in Lianyungang, Jiangsu, Shenyang, Liaoning and Zhengzhou, Henan 600km to the west. The world’s top pork producer, WH Group, has shut down a China slaughterhouse.
Kroger to Start Selling Products Directly to Chinese Shoppers: America’s largest supermarket chain Kroger is launching in China via Tmall Global, starting with products from its organic and natural line, Simple Truth.
China Breakfast Cereal Deep-Dive – How the Market Has Slowly Opened Up: Breakfast cereal has struggled in gaining traction in China. However, oatmeal has made the greatest inroads with Quaker and oats manufacturer Seamild accounting for a third of the market. It helps that oatmeal can be consumed hot, yet cold, ready-to-eat cereals, such as granola and muesli, saw the strongest category growth, up 28% from 2015 to 2017 according to Euromonitor, with mega cities accounting for two-thirds of sales. Ecommerce is estimated to account for 43.2% of cereal sales versus 35.6% in hyper/supermarkets.
Ele.me Launches A Sustainability Lab To Tackle Its Own Waste And Drive Innovation: Ele.me delivers food to 260 million users from 1.3 million restaurants in 2,000 cities in China – that generates a lot of packaging waste. Starting in July, the company has launched a plastic waste recycling pilot project which should hopefully soon save a few mountains of non-biodegradable plastic in China every day.
Anti-Pollution Creams, Cleansers, Serums Target Chinese Millennials Who Want to Protect Their Skin from Harsh City Environments – But Do They work?: More than half of Chinese consumers wanted “to learn more about how to protect themselves from pollution” in 2016, with more recent research finding two-thirds of Chinese consumers believe lifestyle factors, including stress and lack of sleep, have a huge impact on their skin, while 45% believe pollution to be a major factor according to Mintel. In 2016, 38% of new beauty products launches with anti-pollution claims globally were in Asia – 28% more than 2015. Yet consumers find it difficult to distinguish between simple marketing strategies and real anti-pollution products.
Nike Releases Its Most Romantic Cortez Duo for Chinese Valentine’s Day: Nike has released a special-edition duo of sneakers paying homage to the 2,600 year old Han Dynasty Qixi legend.
A Unicorn’s IPO Filing Offers a Glimpse into the Health of Chinese EV Startups: Nio, a start-up backed by Chinese internet giants Tencent and Baidu, began producing its own vehicles in June, and is now seeking $1.8 billion in an initial public offering on the NYSE. The company promises improved smart electric car technologies, coupled with better experience of car ownership, will drive increased appreciation and adoption of smart electric cars. While it has only received 17,000 orders and delivered 481 vehicles, some 490,000 people have downloaded its social network app and posted more than a quarter of a million photos.