Here are this week’s news and highlights for China:
How To Survive an Increasingly Difficult China: Three keys for dealing with the new China risks and 11 things you should do if you are doing business in China from the smart folk at China Law Blog.
Walmart is Doubling Down on China With 500 New Stores: Walmart plans to open 500 new stores in China over the next five to seven years, more than doubling its current 443-store footprint. The company’s China sales grew 6.3% last quarter compared to the same period last year, much higher than its 2.5% growth worldwide. China is expected to become the world’s biggest grocery market by 2023. Walmart currently has more than 100 stores doubling as warehouses for JD in their aim to leverage “multi-format strategies to bring customers freshness, value and convenience.”
Quantum Computing, CRISPR, Drones, Are Put on Chinese Kids’ Reading List: The Ministry of Education has issued a 422-page list of 7,000 books for elementary, middle and high school libraries. A quarter of the books focus on science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects, though it further breaks down this field into specialisations such as agricultural and environmental sciences, industrial technology, transport and logistics. 50 entries categorised under “military affairs” and 50 on aerospace.
Chinese Still Choosing to Study in US Despite Hostilities – but Growth of the Trend Slows Sharply: 369,548 Chinese are studying in the US this year, the largest origin from the country’s 1.1 million international students. Weathering geopolitical tensions, the number of Chinese students in the US still rose 1.7%, although the rate of newly arriving Chinese undergraduates was essentially flat and the number of non-degree students declined by 5.4%. Chinese graduate students grew 2%. 87% cent of China’s school-based college counsellors said students and their parents were having second thoughts about their plans to study in the US. While engineering remained the most popular field of study, maths and computer science supplanted business and management as second most popular.
Obesity, Poor Eyesight Worsen Among Chinese Students, Survey Finds: 8.8% of 10 year-olds polled are obese (6.9% in 2015), while 38.5% suffered from poor eyesight (36.5% in 2015). For the 14-year-olds, 9.7% of those surveyed were overweight (7.5% in 2015) and 68.8% were short-sighted (65.3% in 2015). In the 1960s, only 20% of the Chinese population was short-sighted. Despite the negative trend in above categories, other major indices assessing the students’ physical health showed positive results, with 93% of 10-year-olds and 85% of 14-year-olds said to have reached the required standard for speed, strength and endurance. 92% of the primary schools surveyed had at least one basketball court, and 47% of them were equipped with football pitches. Among the middle schools, 99% had basketball courts and 67% had football pitches.
Tech Companies are Wooing Senior “Digital Refugees”, and There are Reasons: As it becomes more difficult to live in Chinese society without a smartphone, less than 60 million users – 6.9% of China’s 854 million internet users — are over 60 years old. This equates to less than a quarter of the 249 million seniors are online. By comparison, 73% of the US’s pensioners are internet users.
The Tech Gap Between East and West: How firms are Adjusting for the Chinese Market: People in China use their phones differently to people in countries like the US and UK. As a result, western companies are being forced to tailor their apps and services to the Chinese market. Airbnb, for example, built a new app and called it Aibiying. International brands are also using new forms of technology like AR and VR to reach a tech-savvy audience in China.
Porsche Detects Shift in China to Android from iOS: 91% of Porsche owners in the US also own an iPhone, versus 80% in China – however 40% of those expect their next device to be powered by Android.
Chinese Parents Test DNA to Check if Kids Will Become Prodigies: A wave of companies promises to uncover everything from talents to emotional intelligence. Its estimated some 60 million Chinese consumers will be using DNA testing kits by 2022, up from 1.5 million people last year. One of the main drivers is parents using the outputs to provide more focused resources to their kids, however there’s “no way a DNA test will tell you anything that’s meaningful about complex traits,” according to Timothy Caulfield, a bioethicist and health policy expert at the the University of Alberta who specialises in genetics. “And these parents are changing their kids’ lives.”
Micro-Blog Campaign Spotlighting Sustainable Tilapia Drives 20-Fold Increase in Online Sales: Shenzhen NGO GoalBlue teamed up with foodie KOL Mi Zi Jun to run a two-week campaign to promote consumption of more sustainable seafood by eating more tilapia. Ecommerce sales in the store tied to the campaign grew 20-fold, with traffic to the tilapia items on the ecommerce sites increasing 16-fold. Support for sustainability was highest among females aged 18-35 with a college education.
How Aussie Wine has Thrived Over a Decade of Change: Wine matching for the Western diet is based on the idea that you have a range of different courses that are arranged sequentially. Whereas in China you have sweet, sour, textural and non-textural cuisine being served at the same time.
Bigger Isn’t Always Better In China’s Online Health And Beauty Market: Although relatively unknown in its home market, France’s Floreve became an overnight success in China cross border ecommerce by tapping into Chinese consumers’ demand for skin brightening and whitening products with its range of three beauty “shots”. Floreve’s innovative glass packaging and “great marketing story” helped the product to stand out from more established competition. Similarly, little-known Spanish brand Bechi also found a receptive audience in China by sating Chinese appetites for skin lightening products. Repositioning products and information for Chinese preferences is the best way to win.
Need Beauty, Will Travel – Targeting China’s Tourist Shoppers: There are 22 million Chinese female frequent travellers and counting who buy luxury beauty products in the travel retail channel at least twice a year and a further 55 million who buy once a year according to Shiseido. Shiseido Travel Retail has taken advantage of it, reporting sales growth of 17.3%, reaching nearly $500 million – more than double the growth rate of its parent company. China and South Korea remain its top-performing markets. But it’s not just the value of the sales alone, it’s the brand discovery that’s key both abroad and at home.
Two Chinese Companies Have Joined the Ranks of the Fashion Industry’s Giants: The 5,000 store-strong Chinese mens’ fashion brand Heilan Home (HLA), along with Anta Sports, have joined the Nike, Inditex (Zara) and LVMH on the list of the top-20 performing fashion brands globally. This is being bolstered by McKinsey’s prediction of China becoming the largest fashion market in the world this year.
China’s Largest Dump Fills Up 20 Years Ahead of Schedule: Opened in 1994, Xi’an’s Jiangcungou Landfill takes in 10,000 tons of waste per day. The site has the largest storage capacity of any dump in the country, occupying an area of around 100 football fields. Trash at the site is piled 50 stories high. With the close of the dump, the city will rely on three waste incinerators opening this month.