Here are this week’s news and highlights for China:
JD, Alibaba Introduce Tech-Driven Supermarkets To Chinese Consumers: JD has followed Alibaba’s Hema model opening a 4,000 square metre 7Fresh grocery store in Beijing. JD is drawing on data from its 263 million shoppers to craft the experience.
China’s Latest Consumer Trend Has Users Hooked: From zero to tens of millions of users in the space of two weeks, another sensation providing marketers with hints about what works to reach and resonate with Chinese consumers.
Why is it Popular? To Connect With Chinese Consumers, Brands Must be Aware of the Shift in How Chinese See Themselves: The people wanted to know: why was their country still represented by tuk-tuk drivers and pudgy, awkward tourists? The photos had gone global … and the people were mad.
The Chinese are Now Buying as Much Stuff as Americans, a Game-Changer for the World Economy: In 2018, retail sales in China are expected to equal or surpass sales in the United States for the first time – having just been a quarter of the size a decade ago according to The Washington Post. The article citing Mizuho’s analysis expects retail sales in both countries to be around $5.8 trillion this year. Whilst the rise of retail in China is impressive, we’re not convinced that they are close to the US yet. In 2016, China’s GDP was $11.2 trillion versus America’s at $18.6 trillion. That year consumption as a share of GDP was 39.2% in China and almost 70% in the US – higher than China’s entire GDP.
‘Don’t Be Stupid McPheat’: Undeterred, Kiwi Firm Beats Chinese Counterfeiters: New Zealand’s BFM has won a legal battle against two Chinese businesses that were knocking-off their patented industrial pipe couplings. The firm employs 30 staff, disproving the common assumption that it is impossible for smaller businesses to defend intellectual property rights in China.
8 biggest announcements from WeChat 2018 Annual Conference: WeChat creator Allen Zhang discussed the key focuses for the year at the WeChat Annual Conference in Guangzhou: 1. Launch of a separate APP for Official Accounts; 2. Tipping on Apple devices will resume; 3. An author-centric ecosystem; 4. A mobile version of the Official Account backend launched; 5. Mini Program will continue to be the main focus of WeChat development, with a heavy emphasis on games; 6. A continued focus on WeChat search; 7. WeChat for work; and 8. WeChat will not have “Facebook style” AI newsfeed for Subscription Accounts.
iPhone 7 Plus Was Almost China’s Top-Selling Phone in 2017: Apple was the only foreign brand to break the top-10 selling models in China last year with the iPhone 7 Plus second to Oppo’s R9S, and the iPhone 7 in fifth spot. Interestingly, the iPhone 7 line sold considerably better in the second half of the year, as prices were cut ahead of the launch of the iPhone 8 and X lines indicating price sensitivity and many consumers not chasing the latest and greatest.
Little Lobster was China’s Most Popular Dish in 2017: Last year’s sales in China’s catering industry surpassed ¥3.9 trillion yuan ($607 billion) up from ¥3.58 trillion ($556 billion) in 2016 and expected to exceed ¥5 trillion ($777 billion) by the end of 2020. Chinese cuisine made up 57% of the catering market, while snacks accounted for 16%. Consumers born after 1990 consumed 50% of all food purchased according to CCTV. Savoury flavours were most popular, favoured by 23.3% of Chinese consumers, with spicy food second at 17.2%. ‘Little lobster’ was the most ordered dish on Meituan-Dianping.
Meituan-Dianping Releases Inaugural 2018 Black Pearl Restaurant Guide: Meituan-Dianping has launched its first Black Pearl Restaurant Guide, providing ‘an ultimate list of quality restaurants’ each selected from a unique Chinese perspective. A total of 330 restaurants in 22 Chinese cities and five overseas cities – Bangkok, New York, Paris, Singapore and Tokyo made the list with one diamond considered ‘Great for family/friends gathering’; two diamonds: ‘Perfect for special occasions’ and three diamonds: ‘Must visit once in a lifetime’.
In 2018, China’s Seeing Its Most Powerful Passport in Years: China has climbed 10 spots to rank at 75th place in the Henley Passport Index, its highest ranking in a decade. Chinese tourists can now travel to 60 countries without a visa, with seven nations adding visa-free and visa-upon arrival in 2017 and the UAE joining the mix yesterday.
Couples Not Delivering on Beijing’s Push for Two Babies: The annual number of births in China has fallen for the first time since Beijing relaxed its one-child policy with 17.23 million births in China in 2017, 630,000 less than 2016’s 17.86 million. The lack of growth is believed to driven by a greater emphasis on investing in children’s education. China’s working-age population (16-59) fell 5 million last year, whereas those over 65 grew 8 million.
China’s Middle Class is Spurring The Australian Open Record-Breaking Attendance: China boasts 330 million tennis fans, two-thirds who follow the Australian Open. More than 59 million Chinese watched the Australian Open in 2017 – 84% more than 2016, with 36% of tourists who visited Australia in January and February doing so for sporting purposes according to the article.
China To Ban Tattoos And ‘Hip-Hop Culture’ From TV Shows: Following the runaway popularity of TV show The Rap of China, China’s top media regulator now wants new regulations that will order all TV shows to stop inviting entertainers with tattoos or using any elements from hip-hop culture, subculture and demotivational culture.
The 5 Diverging Ways Luxury Brands Approach Ecommerce in China: 35% of Chinese consumers are accustomed to purchasing luxury online, yet different brands are taking quite different approaches including 1. No ecommerce; 2. Brand site; 3. Exclusive platforms; 4. Mainstream platforms; and 5. WeChat commerce.
Chinese Millennials Give Luxury Brands a Boost as They Earn and Spend It All: The average age of luxury goods buyers from the mainland is about 35, 10 years younger than those in developed economies according to Bain. Millennials made an average of eight luxury purchases in 2017, compared to five by other shoppers. The top 20 brands opened 138 new, bigger stores and closed down 144 smaller outlets in 2017. Their total number of stores stood at 1,119. Digital marketing accounted for 50% of budgets versus 35% two years ago.
China Becoming Focus of Global Automobile Sector: Although China’s growth in car sales will be a relatively modest 5% every year until 2022, the country will still account for 53% of global growth and one in every three cars sold. China is expected to be the largest market for self-driving cars globally with 32 million vehicles on the road by 2030 according to McKinsey. The country aims to enable at least half of all its new cars with AI by 2020 and cover 90% of its big cities and highways with a wireless network that can support smart vehicles.