Here are this week’s news and highlights for China:
Quirky Chinese Trends from 2015: Looking back at some of the novel trends from what seems like a long time ago in China-years.
Investors Rush to Grab a Slice of Chinese Plastic Surgery App So-Young on Nasdaq Debut: So-Young started in Beijing in 2014 as a marketplace app to connect clinics with patients and as a community for people interested in cosmetic procedures. It is now worth around $1.5 billion. In Q1 this year, average monthly active users rose 79% year-on-year to 1.92 million and purchasing users increasing 85% to 127,000.
Chinese Millennials & Anti-Aging Pills: A Love Story: Over 80,000 users of Little Red Book have shared stories of the supplements they take to keep beautiful using the #beautysupplement hashtag. The latest self-care formula that’s become popular among Chinese millennial women sounds exhausting. It goes: 10-step beauty routine + medical beauty surgeries + beauty supplements + physical exercises = looking your best. For the year ending June 2018, the number of beauty supplement consumers on Tmall Global grew 280% from two years earlier.
Chinese Beauty Buyers Show Growing Interest in Niche Labels: 85% of women and 70% of Chinese men are curious about niche brands, and 92% of male beauty buyers say they prefer indie options according to Reuter: Intelligence. Female consumers are still more likely to show a preference for big brands, with 69% saying they would rather have a more well known brand. They feel these labels are more trustworthy and have better packaging, technology and science behind them.” The ‘newness’, the non-mainstream, the fresh, bold and expressive traits, and more specialised product segmentation holds appeal for niche brands. 84% of men and 77% of women would also pay more for organic beauty products.
Over Half of Chinese College Students Are Losing Their Hair, Study Finds: 55.7% of Chinese college students are experiencing hair loss. A little over half of those students report hair loss only started during college, citing stress, diet, and lack of sleep as some of the main contributing factors.
This Ad Shows Just How Much Chinese Consumers Trust Facial Recognition Technology: Facial recognition has been officially banned in San Francisco, there’s been a Congress hearing about the pitfalls of the technology and a public backlash in the UK over privacy. But in China a mobile ad promoting 5G highlights how many Chinese care about efficiency and order versus privacy concerns. Recent research into Alipay’s “pay with your face” found the app to be just 70% accurate.
User Intention is Key to Untangling China’s Crowded Social-Media Landscape: While Chinese social, content and commerce platforms offer similar functionalities, there is a key differentiating factor — user purpose or intent.
China’s Short Video Apps Penetration up 76.7%: Of China’s 830 million internet users, 62.2% watch short videos with 313.2 million watchers daily on average as of December 2018. Douyin retained its lead with 37.4% penetration, followed by Kuaishou on 23.2%.
No More Fake Discounts During China’s Annual ‘Shopping Festivals,’ Beijing Says: Among the several proposed rules for shopping festivals such as Singles’ Day and JD’s 618 sale, vendors will have to provide the original prices before any discounts, or prices set seven days before the start of a sales event to prevent meagre “deals” from appearing to be huge discounts.
Chinese Tourism to US Drops for First Time in 15 Years: Travel from China to the US fell 5.7% in 2018 to 2.9 million visitors – the first time since 2003 that Chinese travel to the U.S. slipped from the prior year. Last summer, China issued a travel warning for the US, telling its citizens to beware of shootings, robberies and high costs for medical care. The US shot back with its own warning about travel to China. The trade war isn’t helping on top of more travellers staying closer to home, with 56% of outbound travellers going to Hong Kong, Macau or Taiwan in the last three months of 2018 compared with 50% in 2017. China issued another travel alert for the US yesterday, valid until December 31, 2019.
Aldi to Launch First China Store this Week: Aldi will launch in China on June 7 with the opening of the first of 11 stores initially planned for Shanghai. The stores will have a more upmarket feel than Aldi’s in other markets, stocking cosmetics and a broader range of dairy products. 15 categories will be supplied by imported and locally sourced products. The signature branding on stores will be “Everyday value – hand picked for you.”
Why Do Chinese Consumers Buy Fresh Food Online?: Convenience and time saving are some of the top reasons Chinese consumers buy food online, cited by 62% of shoppers. For 58% it’s direct delivery to home, 53% a wide range of products, and 49% more economical. Respondents could select more than one option.
McDonald’s China Links Loyalty Program to Ele.me App: McDonald’s customers in China can now earn loyalty points when ordering through Alibaba’s delivery app Ele.me. 20,000 new members signed up on its first day of launching with single-day orders increasing 20% week-on-week. The move follows Dairy Queen, Papa Johns and Burger King which was the first to join the program last November and has since attracted 2 million new members – with those members contributing to nearly 40% of its Ele.me sales.
Food Delivery Apps Are Drowning China in Plastic: Delivery in China is so cheap, and the apps offer such generous discounts, that it is now possible to believe that ordering a single cup of coffee for delivery is a sane, reasonable thing to do. Meituan alone says it delivered 6.4 billion food orders last year, 60% more than 2017. The average order was $6.50. Even with the much lower average prices, total sales value in China are 3.5 times the size of America’s. Scientists estimate that the online takeout business in China was responsible for 1.6 million tons of packaging waste in 2017, a ninefold jump from two years before. That includes 1.2 million tons of plastic containers, 175,000 tons of disposable chopsticks, 164,000 tons of plastic bags and 44,000 tons of plastic spoons. China recycles around a quarter of its plastic, government statistics show, compared with less than 10% in the US. But takeout boxes do not end up recycled, by and large as they are inefficient to wash.
China’s Plan to Boost Baby Formula Output Hits Foreign Suppliers: Beijing has announced a new program aiming to exceed 60% self-sufficiency for baby formula and improve the quality of domestic brands in its $27 billion infant-formula industry. Authorities are seeking to bolster consumer confidence following a deadly milk scandal in 2008. The newly announced plan doesn’t entirely try to shut out foreign companies. It will support domestic dairy producers in acquiring or setting up overseas bases for milk supply, encourage foreign dairy firms to invest in China as well as tighten regulations on the milk-powder imports and online sales platforms.
The Luxury Care Centres Pampering China’s Newly Minted Moms: For several weeks after childbirth, many Chinese women observe customs known as zuo yuezi, or “sitting the month” – effectively resting in bed, bundling up, and avoiding certain foods and products to protect the weakened immune systems of new mothers and their babies. Like many things in China, this custom has evolved and become commercialised with private postnatal care centres charging as much as ¥398,000 ($58,000) for a four-week stay. In 2018, China boasted more than 3,000 postnatal care centres, fuelling the growth of an industry expected to rake in ¥14 billion ($2 billion) this year. Around 80% of centres are located in first-tier cities.