Here are this week’s news and highlights for China:
What Could China do in a US Trade War?: Trump’s support for slapping tariffs on imports of washing machines and solar panels will hit China and South Korea hardest. China claims that nothing good will come from a trade war with the US which saw $578.6 billion worth of trade in 2016. Even Jack Ma noted at his Davos speech that it is easy to start a trade war, but hard to stop it, following on from his earlier note that when trade stops, war starts due to the lack of interdependencies. China doesn’t want a trade spat, but it has some tools at its disposal if one starts: 1. File a complaint with the WTO; 2. Limit US beef, soy beans and other commodity imports; 3. Tell Chinese not to buy American cars; 4. Tell tourists to stop visiting the US; 5. Sell some of its trillion dollars-worth of US bonds and much more.
Why is it Popular? How a Frog Could Derail Xi Jinping’s Age of Ambition: Brands are constantly in pursuit of the Chinese millennial, yet few step back and try to understand them. The current fad sweeping the nation is indicative of what China’s leadership truly fears; the lost ambition of a generation.
Wanda, Tencent Partner to Upgrade Retail Business: Further to last week’s Skinny about the digital evolution of Chinese retail, Tencent, JD, Suning and property developer Sunac this week announced a collective investment of $5.4 billion into property giant Wanda Group to upgrade its retail business. Wanda has 31.5 million square meters of commercial property with 235 Wanda Plazas operating in China.
AI-Enabled Smart Homes Coming Soon: China’s smart home market is expected to reach￥130 billion ($20.3 billion) this year, with an annual growth rate of 48% since 2015. Chinese brand Midea is one of the local grown heroes, with a host of smart products including refrigerators with high-definition touch screens and sensors displaying nutrition information of the food inside.
Chinese Consumers Increasingly Embrace “Green” Products, Claims JD.com: Chinese consumers buying categories such as household appliances, clothing and food, are increasingly looking at factors such as recyclable materials, energy efficiency and environmental protection according to JD. The platform saw sales of ‘green’ products increase 71% last year, contributing to 15.1% of total sales. Males appear most willing to pay for green products with older segments more inclined than millennials. Females were responsible for the least price-sensitive categories with green maternal & childcare and beauty products enjoying 78% and 52% premiums respectively.
Google is Missing Out on Billions of Dollars by Not Having an App Store in China, New Data Shows: Chinese consumers spent nearly $35 billion on apps in 2017, marking a 270% increase in two years. Over the same period, US consumers spending grew 75% to $15 billion.
Chinese Men Outspend Women Online, Thanks to Gaming and Takeout Food: For the first time, Chinese men now spend more than women online, driven by spending on takeaway food and gaming. Chinese consumers placed 18.86 million online orders for congee with minced pork and preserved egg in 2017. Orders for spicy drumstick burgers and chilli and sour potato were close behind.
Chinese Consumers Enjoy Cross-Border Shopping: Chinese consumers that shopped on overseas websites increased from 34% in 2015 to 64% in 2017 according to Nielsen, with 66% of them aged 18 to 35. Baby food and milk powder made up 26% of total cross-border sales in the first half of last year. Personal care supplies also remained high on the shopping list.
WeChat Pay Now Allows Users to Bind Overseas Credit Cards: Great news for foreigners who’ve just arrived in China and visiting delegations to experience for yourself the remarkable world that mobile payments in China.
Alibaba and Fonterra Redefine Fresh Milk in NZ: Online and offline shoppers can find Chinese-produced Fonterra milk fresh that day in Hema stores and a few selected RT-marts in Shanghai. Instead of the usual 7-10 day shelf life, the milk lasts just 24 hours on the store. Fresh milk is gaining traction in China as more consumers believe fresh milk, which contains no preservatives, is healthier and richer in nutrients compared with milk with a shelf life of six months or more. 22% of Chinese consumers are fresh milk drinkers according to Fonterra.
Australian Wine Exports to China Surge as FTA Cuts Tariffs: The value of Australia’s wine exports to China grew 63% last year with the fastest growing segment being bottles worth more than A$200 ($160).
Chinese Consumers Prefer Higher-Rated Hotels and Last Minute Bookings, Ctrip Reveals: 76% of Chinese filter hotels by star rating on Ctrip seeking out four or five stars. More than half of Ctrip’s users (the vast majority booking domestic trips) opted for same-day reservation and check-in, 26% booked one to three days out and 13% at least a week in advance. Common complaints were “not having kids’ slippers in the guestroom” and “not having sufficient child-friendly cutlery”.
What’s on Weibo Anorexia in China – Same, But Different: China’s social platforms see a different ‘skinny hype’ every year from the ‘iPhone6 legs’ to ‘A4 waist’ but there are few online discussions about anorexia nervosa – with most commentary focusing on foreign women. The idea that anorexia in Chinese patients is often experienced or communicated as a physical condition rather than psychological, as they are “culturally encouraged to use denial and minimization to cope with conditions deemed taboo.”
Feng Shanshan, China’s First Golf Number One and ‘Guinea Pig’: 28-year old Rio bronze medallist Feng Shanshan has become the first Chinese person to become a world number one golfer. Cow-print trouser-wearing Feng considers herself more of a guinea pig than a pioneer.