Here are this week’s news and highlights for China:
Marriage Rate in China Hits Lowest on Record: Just 7.2 people out of every 1,000 got married in China last year, with people getting married later. About 6% of women aged 30 and 34 in China were unmarried in 2015, around 10 times higher than what was recorded in 1990. Shanghai had the lowest marriage rate of 4.4/1,000, and Guizhou the highest at 11.1/1,000. 29.5% of respondents in a People’s Daily survey said they weren’t married because they hadn’t met the right person, and 23.4% said they weren’t ready to take on the responsibilities of starting a family.
China Services Sector Expands at Fastest Rate in 14 Months: China’s services industry, which accounts for more than half of China’s economy, saw healthy growth in March, supported by positive news from China’s manufacturing PMI which had its largest gain since February 2012. Caixin China Composite PMI covering both the manufacturing and services sectors rose to 52.9 from 50.7 a month earlier, its highest since June 2018.
How Chinese Influencers Calculate Their Fees: Influencer marketing in China can often cost more than in the West. Six key factors that KOLs consider when setting their prices and deciding if they should work with your brand are: 1. Your brand’s reputation; 2. Whether or not the product clearly fits their niche; 3. The item’s cost; 4. Content format requirements; 5. Requirements for how the product must appear in the content; and 6. KPIs.
Australia’s China-Only Post Office: In Auspost’s Daigou shops signs are bilingual, all staff speak Mandarin and they only mail to China, with customers spending a lot more on milk powder, vitamins and soap than stamps and envelopes. The pilot store in the North Sydney suburb of Chatswood opened nearly a year ago to test demand, Auspost has since opened another three stores. The Daigou trade is showing no signs of slowing down in Australia – even after China’s new e-commerce rules came into force on January 1.
How China’s Child Modelling Boom Turned a Small Town Into Magnet for Ambitious Parents: Families are relocating to Zhili, Zhejiang where the growing child garment industry means models can earn up to ¥10,000 ($1,500) a day, with the most popular models reportedly earning a million ($150K) a year. There are roughly 10,000 child garment manufacturers in Zhili, where the population is normally about 100,000. Thanks to the child model sector, that swells to 350,000 around peak times such as Singles’ Day in November.
Infant Milk Formula: Navigating Sea of Change in Complex Route-to-Market: 3 min vid: Despite lower birth rates, China remains one of the most important markets for infant formula; supported by an increase in per capita consumption and strong premiumisation. CitiResearch argues having that the right route-to-market, especially in the online channel, matters more than the underlying market itself [registration required].
China is About to Overtake America in AI Research: China is on track to overtake the US in the most-cited 50 percent of papers on Artificial Intelligence this year, in the most-cited 10 percent of papers next year, and in the 1 percent of most-cited papers by 2025, helped along by significant investment from Beijing and an unrivalled source of big data available to some AI developers.
Alibaba Seized More than a Half a Billion Dollars Worth of Counterfeit Goods Last Year: Since being ousted from the prestigious International Anti Counterfeiting Coalition (IACC) in 2016, Alibaba has come a long way in the war against counterfeits, praised by industry leaders and attracting 132 brands to the Alibaba Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition. Alibaba’s efforts last year resulted in the arrest of 1,277 suspects and the shutdown of 524 manufacturing and distribution locations, leading to counterfeit product seizures totalling $536.2 million.
Chinese Consumers Ignore Calls to Eat Less Beef: Despite increasing prices, and evidence that too much beef is bad for health and the environment, belief that eating red meat makes you strong persists in China, and consumption is accelerating. Beef prices in January and February this year grew 11% over the same period last year, driven by the African Swine Fever hitting pork and a longer-term affluence and preference for the meat. With just 2% of Chinese farms sending more than 1,000 heads of cattle to the market annually, China’s small scale farmers are struggling to scale up and increased demand is mainly being serviced by beef imports – with much of the growth coming from South America.
Chocolate in China: Use in Local Food Applications Key to Category Success – Barry Callebaut China boss: Chocolate bars might be a favourite in other markets, but in China other chocolate applications – ice cream, bakery, cafe and local food incorporations are topping China’s sales charts. Chinese consumers are most attracted to less sweet, silky textured, and a smaller serving sizes. Although demand is greatest in tier 1 and 2 cities, chocolate is seeing an increasing presence in lower-tier cities and rural areas as well.
Why Indian Tourists are Nothing Like Their Chinese Counterparts, Yet: Indians made 24 million outbound trips in 2017 versus 130 million from China. The number of ‘middle class’ residents in China is also well over double that of India. India currently has a “passport power rank” of 69, placing it alongside Sierra Leone and Sao Tome Principe in the Global Passport Index. Indian citizens can travel visa-free to 25 nations, qualify for visa on arrival in 39 and need to apply for a visa to enter 134. Chinese fare slightly better, at number 60 in the list, with visa-free access to 28 countries, visas available on arrival in 46 and a visa required for 124.
How New England Patriots Had a ‘Monumental’ Year in China: The New England Patriots have had a good year in China becoming the first NFL team to hit 500,000 followers on Weibo, growing faster than European football giants Manchester United and Barcelona as well as the majority of NBA clubs, albeit from a smaller base. 30.9 million people in China are reportedly interested in the NFL and households with income of over $40,000 are over 2.5 times more likely to follow the NFL than the average Chinese sports fan. 1,750 players partake in China’s two amateur leagues and 120,000 young Chinese are expected to have taken part in privately funded American Football training organizations in the country by 2020, with an average fee of $4,000 for a weekly program.
China’s Renewed Embrace of Coal Power Bucks Global Trend: Newly-completed coal plants globally dropped 20% last year and 53% over the past three, but the amount of coal power-capacity under construction increased 12% in 2018, primarily driven by China in what doesn’t bode well for environmental targets in the country as most northern China cities failed to meet winter smog targets over the six months until the end of March.
Luxury Brands Work With Chinese eCommerce Sites, Shun Amazon: Luxury brands are selling more and more on Chinese eCommerce sites, while still keeping their distance from Amazon. Both Alibaba and JD.com have offered separate platforms exclusively for luxury brands, with the likes of Burberry appearing on Alibaba’s Tmall site. Chinese consumers also prefer to shop on apps and through third-party sites as opposed to brand.com sites in many Western markets.
2020 Ford Escape: Chinese-Market Model Gets New Face: Ford has recognised the need to offer cars that meet the unique tastes of Chinese consumers with a China-specific design of its new Escape differing from other models globally. China’s version gets a unique front end design, which the company says reflects “the aesthetic preferences and particular needs of young urban Chinese,” after finding Chinese consumers favour ‘subtle and dynamic’ aesthetics – designs that are understated yet powerful. The new Escape forms part of Ford China 2.0′, which will see 30 Ford and Lincoln models launch in the region over the next three years.