Here are this week’s news and highlights for China:
China Stocks Jump to Eight-Month High as Trade Optimism Grows: Chinese stocks surged to their highest level since June 2018 as signs of progress in the US trade talks and the breaking of a key resistance level supercharged confidence. The Shanghai Composite Index has climbed 25% since its low on 3 Jan adding $1.5 trillion in value to China’s stock market.
China’s Employed Population Shrinks for First Time Ever: China’s working population fell to 897 million last year, down from 902 million in 2017 – the seventh consecutive annual fall and 2.8% lower than 2011. The number employed fell 540,000 to 776 million, the first fall on record.
China’s State Media Investigates Fake Followers of Celebrities: Boy band member Cai Xukun who was NBA’s Chinese New Year Ambassador has been caught by CCTV for faking his popularity after ‘one third of Weibo users’ shared and liked his new song – another reminder of how often social media fans and engagement are by KOLs and social media agencies in China.
See China’s Groundbreaking $4.8 Billion “Horizontal Skyscraper”: Chongqing’s architectural landmark hit a milestone last week with construction completed of the completion of the impressive 300 metre-long steel and glass sky bridge that connects six skyscrapers, filled with trees, lagoons, observation decks, shops, and restaurants. IHG will house a stunning hotel, and EV car brand Nio will open its largest showroom in the complex.
Fertility Clinic Pulls Ad Featuring Victim of Domestic Abuse After Backlash: A Chinese reproductive health clinic received online backlash after their ad featured a female victim of domestic violence for not being able conceive a baby for 14 years, and how her fate was altered through pregnancy.
China has 829 Million Netizens: China had 829 million Internet users last year, including 222 million (26.7%) living in rural areas – 6.2% more than 2017, but amazingly slower than the 7.3% rise overall. 98.6% of Internet users used their mobiles to connect. People spent an average of 27.6 hours per week with 78.2% using short video services, more than the 73.6% shopping online.
Meituan Labour Strikes Underscore Profitability Pressures: The world’s most innovative company Meituan Dianping faces pushback as its delivery fleet staged a series of strikes in several major cities across the country this past week in protest of recently lowered wages.
The ‘Magical’ Reason Chinese Tourists are Flocking to the University of Sydney: Fake news has helped get a few more Chinese tourists to Sydney, with several Chinese websites claiming the Harry Potter films were partly shot at the University of Sydney.
Starbucks Fans Fight Over Limited Edition ‘Cat Paw Cups’ in China: Starbucks’ ¥199 ($30) limited edition “Cat Paw Cup” sold out in less than a day with viral videos of people brawling in Starbucks stores to get their hands on one. Online sales followed, with the first batch of 1,000 cups selling out in less than a tenth of a second, and the next run of 3,000 cups selling out in less than a second, fuelling accusations of “hunger marketing,” a term in China that refers to deliberately limiting supplies of a product to dramatically drive up demand.
Why Tim Hortons Will Be the Next Starbucks Rival to Fail Miserably in China: Given Canadian coffee chain Tim Hortons is struggling in its home market Canada and hasn’t performed well in the US, it will be a hard road to succeed in the tough China market.
Hema Partners with Alipay to Gamify Plastic-Free Shopping: Hema (also known as Fresh Hippo) has started charging for plastic bags. If shoppers choose not to buy plastic bags they receive “green energy” points for Alipay users’ Ant Forest carbon account. The initiative is part of a larger campaign launched by Hema and Alipay to encourage users to adopt a greener lifestyle. Hema expects to save 12 million plastic bags and generate green energy points enough to plant 15,000 trees.
Danish Toymaker Lego Builds its Empire in China Brick by Brick, Store by Store: Lego is looking to expand its Chinese store count from 50 stores in 2018 to 130 by the end of the year, with the main focus on third and fourth tier cities. Lego will have stores in 30 cities. Lego also has Certified Stores are operated by local partners. Of the 400 or so stores, about 240 are Lego Certified Stores.
FAO Schwarz to Open its Largest Flagship Toy Store in Beijing to Introduce Chinese Consumers to ‘Experiential’ Shopping: America’s oldest toy store is poised to open its largest worldwide flagship in Beijing this year, 40% larger than its Rockefeller Center flagship in New York city. China is already the largest global market for recreational and education products, and the toy market is expected to become the world’s largest with sales forecast to reach ¥92.45 billion ($13.8 billion) by 2022. Hamleys already has its largest toy store in Beijing.
Don’t Buy Into Nio’s 60 Minutes Hype As It Seeks Musk-Level Media: Shanghai-based EV company Nio claims to be a Telsa-killer. The company is hoping to differentiate itself in China’s crowded market by aiming not to be a car company, but a lifestyle company. This will come from services such as an exclusive app and social network that only Nio owners are a part of. On top of their dealerships’ offerings, additional benefits include classes in things such as espresso making, along with places for kids to play, and areas for folks to hang out and socialize with each other.