Here are this week’s news and highlights for China:
China’s Economy Grows at Fastest Rate in Six Quarters: Consumption accounted for 77.2% of China’s 6.9% GDP growth from January to March this year. Retail sales grew 10.9% in the year to March, above the 9.6% forecast. The fastest growing categories were building & decoration materials (up 17.8%); office supplies (17.2%) beverages (15.6%); furniture (13.8%); alcohol & tobacco (12.7%); home appliances (12.4%); medicine (12.1%); and grain and food (12.0%).
Package Design Matters in Deciding What We Buy: Over the past 12 months, 160 new consumer products have hit the shelves every day in Mainland China according to Mintel. Personal care products, cosmetics and snacks accounted for more than half of the new products. Brands are increasingly hoping to stand out on shelves with eye catching shapes, graphics, product information, logos and colour.
China’s Digital Media is Booming, But Breaking in Can Be Tricky: Over ¥10 trillion ($1.45 trillion) changed hands over mobile payment platforms in China in 2015, expected to more than double to ¥22 trillion ($3.2 trillion) this year. China’s online advertising reached ¥209 billion ($30.4 billion) in 2016 — 36% higher than 2015.
Tencent’s WeChat Threatens Alibaba’s Alipay: In the two years from Q4 2014 and Q4 2016 AliPay’s share of digital payments has dropped from 79% to 54%, whereas Tencent including WeChat Pay has increased from 8% to 37%. All other payment systems have been scrapping over a falling share of 13% to 9% according to Analysys International [paywall].
What China Wants: The Five Hottest U.S. Product Categories: The five fastest growing categories for US cross-border ecommerce are cosmetics & personal care, mom & baby, nutritional supplements, fashion & apparel and digital products according to iResearch. Cross-border ecommerce is forecast to account for 9% of China’s online retail market by 2018.
Vietnamese Dairy Producers Eyeing Path to Lucrative Chinese Market: Vietnamese milk companies are looking to join the cluttered dairy market, believing their competitiveness will come from products with international standards like New Zealand, Australia and Europe, but for a relatively lower price.
China’s Luxury Travellers Are Young and Spending More Than Ever: Half of Chinese travellers are 15 to 29 and are less price-sensitive and more willing to spend money on indulgences than previous generations. Luxury shoppers in China are less than 37 on average versus over 43 in Japan. Almost 60% of Chinese consumers want to show off their taste and style online – the highest rate globally.
Hang Gliding in Malibu. Touring a Beverly Hills Mansion. The Chinese Will be Able to Experience it All Before Visiting: Los Angeles follows Tourism Australia, Arizona and British Columbia with VR marketing in hope of growing on the more than a million Chinese tourists who visited the city in 2016. Last year, China accounted for an estimated 40% of VR headsets shipped worldwide.
Chinese Tourists Return to Paris Amid Easing Fears of Terrorism: After opting for other spots following the November 2015 Paris attacks, Chinese travellers are now returning to pre-attack levels in Paris. According to Ctrip “since the terrorist attack [in Paris 2015], many tourists have looked to Eastern European [destinations] such as Hungary and the Czech Republic or Northern European countries such as Finland and Sweden.”
U.S. Hospitals See Healthy Opportunities in China: China’s medical tourism market grew by 500% in 2016 with 500,000 Chinese travelling abroad for medical care and spending an average of $7,300. A growing list of about 100 foreign clinics have partnered with local health service providers to launch facilities in China in recent years.
Chinese Parents are Using Peppa Pig to Prepare their Toddlers for the Ivy League: Chinese parents are using videos like Peppa Pig and Willy Wonka to improve their child’s English. The sales volume of imported children’s foreign books has been doubling every year since 2013 according to one of China’s biggest importers of foreign books. Chinese children are learning English earlier, with nearly 70% of respondents in a China Youth Daily survey reporting that their own children or children they know started learning English before five years old, mainly due to Chinese parents’ fixation on giving children an early advantage.
Hollywood’s New Script: You Can’t Make Movies Without China: Hollywood executives are all too familiar with Chinese censorship rules: no sex and no ghosts as they’re too spiritual. Plot elements that “disrupt the social order” and “jeopardise social morality” are prohibited and time travel is frowned upon because of its premise that individuals can change history. [paywall]
German Car Brand Gets New Lease on Life With Chinese Money: Once Germany’s third-largest carmaker accounting for 60% of its exports, Germany’s Borgward has risen once again after going bust over 50 years ago, thanks to China’s Beiqi Foton Motor Co., the state-owned truck maker that paid 5 million euros ($5.3 million) to buy the nameplate in 2014. The German heritage appears to be wooing Chinese customers with 30,000 units sold in 8 months. The BX5 compact SUV that went on sale last month has a starting price of ¥149,800 ($21,700).
Auto Shanghai 2017 Shows Off China’s Best Cars: Auto Shanghai 2017 – the global industry’s biggest marketing event of the year, reflects the conflict between Beijing’s ambitions to promote environmentally friendly propulsion and Chinese consumers’ love of hulking, fuel-hungry SUVs. 38 photos. The Chinese auto market expanded 15% in 2016.