Here are this week’s news and highlights for China:
China’s Grocery Trolls Make Giant Piggy Banks of Wal-Mart and Carrefour: Changes to China’s Food Safety Law in late 2015 removed a clause that said victims must prove personal injury or loss to be eligible for compensation spawning a cottage industry of professional complainers. Last year local governments in Guangdong and Jiangxi provinces said as many as 90% of food safety complaints were from such plaintiffs.
Camembert Crackdown! China Bans Soft Cheese Imports: Products containing certain molds are being blocked from being imported into China including Camembert, Brie, Roquefort, blue cheese and goat cheese. China imported more than $400m of cheese last year with the majority being mozzarella destined for use in pizzas.
Goat Deaths Spark Debate Over Pesticide Abuse: Toxic pesticides continue to be used en masse in China leading to consequences such as the death of almost 100 goats who ate spring onion leaves bought from a wholesale vegetable reseller in Shouguang – a major vegetable wholesale hub in China that supplies fruits and vegetables to metropolises including Beijing and Shanghai. Unlicensed, small pesticide producers scattered across the country supply many of China’s 250 million small farmers.
Wrapped in Plastic, China’s Farmland Is Suffering: QuickTake Q&A: Chinese farmland covering an area half the size of California is under polyethylene wrap which scientists say is causing environmental pollution on an epic scale. It is also releasing potentially carcinogenic phthalate acid esters into the soil which can be absorbed by vegetables, in addition to accumulating pesticides and other toxins applied to crops.
The Chinese Consumer is Being Overlooked by Investors: Disposable income per household in China rose 7.3% in real terms in the first half of this year. Moreover, 8.55 million jobs were created in urban areas in the first seven months of 2017 according to JPMorgan. In sharp contrast, India is generating roughly 1 million jobs a year at a time when it needs to fashion 10 times more to absorb the youth streaming in from the countryside in search of a better living [paywall].
Alibaba to Open its First Brick-and-Mortar Mall in China: In April Alibaba is opening a five-story brick-and-mortar mall, dubbed “More Mall” on a 40,000-square-meter plot of land at its headquarters in Hangzhou. The company hopes to “enrich the real-world shopping experience with technology and convenience”.
Daigou Down Under: The Chinese Shopping Trend Taking Australia by Storm (and a Public Listing to Boot): Sydney-based AuMake makes over $10 million a year by selling products to daigou in brick-and-mortar stores and to Chinese consumers directly. It is planning to float on the ASX in October via a back-door listing in a bid to “consolidate the fragmented daigou market”.
Counterfeit or Credible? UX Design for Authenticity in China: In China, websites must work harder than in other markets to gain users’ trust. Displaying the company’s local presence, past client work, and being available to answer questions via online chat are critical.
JD.com and California STEP Partner to Help Small Businesses Reach a Quarter Billion Chinese Consumers Online: JD.com has teamed up with the California State Trade Expansion Program (STEP) to assist California merchants expedite their entry into the Chinese online market with store set up and maintenance, marketing and shipping.
China Needs 7,240 New Planes in Next 20 Years: Boeing Forecast: Boeing has forecast that Chinese-based airlines will need $1.1 trillion worth of airplanes in the next 20 years – almost 20% of new airplane demand globally – with three-quarters of orders being single-aisle aircraft. This doesn’t account for the Chinese tourists driving growth of foreign airlines. The forecast is over 6% higher than Boeing made last year indicating increasing confidence in the market.
Don’t be Fooled—Just Because it’s a Five-Star Hotel Doesn’t Mean it’s Clean: A viral video exposé revealed unchanged bed linen and dirty toilets in five-star Hilton, Shangri-La, Intercontinental and JW Marriott and its subsidiary W hotels in Beijing.
Where In The World Is Alipay?: More than half a million Chinese businesses and 1 million taxis use Alipay.
5 Surprising Facts About the Luxury Shopping Habits of Chinese Millennials: Chinese millennials are more likely to discover trends from brand websites not social media; they’re much more cautious, less impulsive; are less likely to pay more for personalized goods and services than their Western counterparts; quality and uniqueness are the two biggest factors that draw them to a luxury brand; and Chinese are more brand loyal than Western shoppers according to a Deloitte report.
Chinese Luxury Goods Prices Start to Close Gap with Europe: Helped by the strengthening RMB, luxury goods on average are now 32% more expensive than identical items in France compared with 41% a year ago — a trend that is driving up domestic luxury spending on the mainland. The decreasing price disparity is most pronounced in the clothing and footwear category [paywall].