Here are this week’s news and highlights for China:
Inside China’s Training Camps, Where Boys are Learning How to be Men: An 18-day, $1,400 course held on weekends for boys aged seven to 11 has seen 20,000 boys through, aiming to rescue them from their day-to-day, all-female environment and prevent them from being “oversensitive, vulnerable, whiny, petty or irresponsible.” The camps see boys wearing headbands reading “Tough Guy” and chanting slogans such as “Who is the best? I am the best”, “Who are we? We are the man”. They are there to learn about focus, cooperation and competition through lectures, games and American football.
Chinese Teen Bankrupts Parents After Spending Over $37,000 on Live-Stream ‘Girlfriend’: A couple in eastern China has been bankrupted by their 19-year old son after he spent almost all of their savings – more than $37,000 – trying to curry favour with a live-stream host he claimed was his girlfriend. More than 150 social media sites in China where “hosts”, mostly women, live-stream themselves singing, dancing or even just eating a meal to earn “gifts” from viewers – 80% of whom are male.
JD.com Slammed for Sexist Sales Line Ahead of Single’s Day: JD Beauty has apologized for its latest marketing campaign, which sparked an outcry for being too sexist. To prepare for strong competition with Alibaba on the Singles Day, JD.com ran a tagline on its express gift boxes with the motto “Without lipstick, how are you different from a man?” Unfortunately, this idea immediately caused a storm with critics saying “The ad discriminates against women without make-up” and “Using lipstick or not is none of your business”. Most of the 300,000 boxes printed with the slogan were destroyed.
Most Chinese Employees Overworked: Survey: Over 80% of Chinese employees are overworked and under mental and physical stress at an average or higher level, according to a survey by Wuhan University of Science and Technology. About 53% of employees say they often work late at night while 72% have to comply to irregular working time. Nearly four-fifths of employees exercise less than five hours a week, and more than half exercise less than one hour a day on average.
Six Key China Business and Law Trends: More fascinating wisdom from the folk at China Law Blog such as faster, cheaper and easier WFOEs and Chinese factories copying and selling their foreign customers’ products faster than ever before.
80 Retail Stores in Jing’an District Adopt Seven-Day Unconditional Refund Policy: As an answer to online shopping’s seven day right of return, 80 brands in Jing’an district of Shanghai are offering unconditional seven day refund services. Participating stores include popular domestic and foreign brands Zara, Gap, 73 Hours, Kaikai and Wuliangcai.
Trade Tensions Don’t Distract from Pursuit of China’s Consumers: 58% of US businesses currently exporting to China say they are likely to expand their businesses there in the next three to five years, according to HSBC. Top three challenges for company’s growth in China include; ability to adapt to Chinese tastes (35%), international competitors (35%) and regulatory requirements (33%).
Infographic: Singles’ Day 2018: The data behind the world’s biggest day of shopping. Korea appears to be back in favour with Chinese consumers, moving from the fifth to the third most popular country for products. The US retained its number two spot from last year, with the trade war having limited impact on sentiment towards American products. That and many more fascinating stats from 11.11. Although China’s day of discounts continues to grow, deals and promotions are part of everyday life in China. For example, 46% of all FMCG volume is sold at a deal across both bricks & mortar and ecommerce.
Singles’ Day 2018: A Beacon of Hope in Uncertain Times: Serving as a proverbial yardstick, the surging performance of this year’s 11.11 festivities will have the Alibaba HQ and those in Beijing breathing slightly easier. However, how long a respite will it provide?
Douyin Claims to Have 400 Million Monthly Active Users in China: Half of China’s online population now use short video app Douyin at least once a month, with 200 million daily. That’s 100 million new active users in the past four months. Short video apps account for 9% of Chinese user time spend online, eroding Tencent’s dominance. Meanwhile number two short video app Kuaishou claims 130 million daily users with a high concentration from lower tier cities and rural areas – 10 million of whom have made money through the app in the past year.
China Social Media Impact Report 2018: Chinese consumers feel social media is having a more positive impact on their lives as the landscape of social media gets more diversified. WeChat, whose penetration rate remains nearly 100%, is the only social media app that people are less positive with compared to last year, according to Kantar. 57% users feel social media helps them “relieve from pressure in real life”, up 12 percentage points from last year, and 61% feel social media can help them “make better shopping decisions”, a 9 percentage point increase on 2017.
FMCG Sales Grow Even Faster in Q3: Sales of China’s fast-moving consumer goods in the third quarter grew by 6.3% from a year ago, the second fastest expansion since 2017. Consumers continued to buy premium goods with higher prices. Supermarkets have grown by 5.0%, thanks to more traffic and higher basket values. This has in part been driven by both digital and shopper experience transformation within the offline stores. E-commerce continued to report very strong growth in the latest quarter, with sales value up by 43.6% across greater diversification of platforms. 10.6% of the total FMCG market now sell online.
How Chinese Tourists Are Changing the Travel Landscape: Currently, 120 million Chinese citizens hold passports — about 9% of the population, compared to 40% of Americans and 95% of Brits. Ctrip thinks that number could double in two years.
Hurun Report Released the Chinese Luxury Traveller 2018 Report: In the past year, the top-5 most popular overseas destinations for Chinese high-end travellers were Europe (39%), the Americas (36%), Africa (29%), Southeast & South Asia (23%) and Japan & South Korea (22%). Africa rose fastest, followed by the Americas. 64% of respondents have chosen to take an outbound trip during Chinese New Year next year with Australia (20%), Thailand (18%) and New Zealand (17%) the top destinations. The biggest travel worries are traffic safety (42%), followed by natural disasters (25%), robbery and theft (22%), being ripped off (12%), dietary hygiene (11%) and travel facility safety (11%).