Here are this week’s news and highlights for China:
More than half of Chinese Newborns are Second Children, State Media Report: Some 52% of the 11.6 million babies born between January and August have an older sibling. That compares to about 45% in 2016, when 18.5 million babies were born in hospital. Just in Beijing an extra 330,000-340,000 extra births are expected per year following the loosened family planning policy, causing 18 hospitals in the city to collaborate on a new pediatrics facility to help deal with the acute shortage of pediatricians.
Brands that Portray Chinese Women as Successful and Powerful are Gaining an Edge: 63% of China’s female population in the labour force, compared with 56% in the US and 50% on average globally. Portraying women as successful and powerful in advertisements is a recent trend, and it’s definitely appealing to Chinese women. SK-II is a good example of a brand that appealed to it with their left over women campaign, which saw sales increase 50% in the eight months from when the ad was launched. Ikea’s ad on the topic didn’t go down quite so well.
China Sees No Let-up in Inflation: China’s inflation rose 1.7% over the past year – the biggest monthly rise since January. Food prices in China dropped 0.4% in October from a year ago while fuel and healthcare saw rises north of 7%.
Infographic: Alibaba’s Epic Singles’ Day: $25.3 billion and 39% growth from an already large base – well done Alibaba. Some of the more interesting stats from the day.
Highlights of 2017 11.11 Global Shopping Festival: 3 minute video reel covering the online, offline and entertainment highlights from Saturday’s big event. Also on 11.11 was the release of Jack Ma’s star-studded martial arts movie and tribute to himself – watch the trailer here.
China’s No. 2 E-Commerce Player Ups Its Game, Narrowing Gap With Alibaba: With WeChat and Walmart behind them, JD stands the best chance of giving Alibaba a run for its money. JD’s ‘Singles’ Day’ which spanned from 1-12 November grew 50% on last year to ¥127.1 billion ($19.1 billion). Coinciding with Trump’s visit to China, JD announced it intends to purchase more than $2 billion of goods from the United States over the next three years, including more than $1.2 billion of Montana beef and Smithfield Food’s pork. Similarly, cross border ecommerce platform NetEase Kaola announced a commitment to purchase $3 billion of products from US brands over the next three years.
JD.com Unveils the Future: Drones, Robots and Self-Driving Automobiles: Some of the remarkable innovations coming out of JD that will help reduce high overheads, improve the customer experience and potentially create a scalable product that can be rolled out to retailers the world over.
WeChat Becomes “A Lifestyle” as Senior Users, Calls, and Payments All See Large Increases: 902 million WeChat users logged in per day in September 2017, up 17% from 2016. The fastest growing user group are the seniors (55-70) of whom 50 million log in monthly. If you needed further evidence of China’s fitness movement, check out the 115 million active daily users on WeRun – 177% more than last year.
Is China’s Sharing Economy on Borrowed Time?: China’s sharing economy is booming, with many startups jumping on the trend even if they aren’t technically sharing. Nevertheless, sharing startups made up a notable share of $31 billion invested in startups last year. An unexpected idea to gain traction recently in China is shared toys, with at least three companies in the space.
Misconceptions about Contraception: More than 80% of adults in China have misunderstandings about contraception with 36% of Chinese surveyed between 20-40 saying they used withdrawal as a means of contraception. Nearly half of the respondents said women cannot become pregnant while they are menstruating. Condoms remain the most popular form of contraception, with 70% of non-virgins having used one and 50% for first-time intercourse. The Pill remains a rare product as women think it will have long term effects to their health and fertility in the long term coupled with concerns about the inconvenience of having to take it daily.
Domestic Startups Challenging Foreign Condom Brands: In 2014, there were only about 50 condom production lines. Now there about 300 facilities that either manufacture or package prophylactics, with local brands developing innovative products such as ultrathin, fun (dots and ribs), and the longer-lasting varieties to challenge the foreign market leaders.
China’s Sexual Abstinence Campaign Blends TCM, Quasi-Buddhism and Superstition: 3 million users have signed up to an online forum in China which claims to help “victims who are addicted to and thus harmed by masturbation.”
The 4 New Attitudes of Young Chinese Women That Impact Their Lingerie Preferences: The relationship of Chinese women and their bodies has changed, and a major switch is happening in terms of lingerie desires from the previous generation with young women looking to be sexier and more seductive in their lingerie choices. Comfort and health are still important criteria but more value is being placed on high-quality fabric and more simple shapes. The definition of pretty is expanding beyond just being skinny to include fit physiques, pointing to women having increasing confidence in their bodies.
Investors Binge on China’s Appetite for Healthier Snack Foods: Investment by venture capital firms in China’s food and beverage start-ups is close to doubling to nearly $2 billion over the past two years. Products such as Greek yogurt, nuts and probiotic drinks have seen big gains in growth at the expense of those laden with sugar and preservatives. Some speciality Chinese products or concepts, such as hot pot, chilli sauce and milk tea, have also recorded rising sales.
‘Hyper Sensitive’ Chinese Tourists Shun the US: Bookings for outbound travel during Chinese new year in February 2018 are currently 40% ahead of where they were at the same time last year as outbound travel continues to boom from China. However tourists are hyper sensitive to bad news – if a destination’s image becomes tarnished they are swift to go elsewhere. A series of massacres in the US has seen Chinese tourists drop 10% to the country so far this year while visitors to neigbouring Canada and Mexico grew 54% and 29% respectively. The Paris terrorist attacks in November 2015 so spooked the Chinese that bookings plunged 72% in the three weeks following the outrages. Tourists to Russia grew 398% over the same period.
That’s the Skinny for the week! See previous newsletters here. Contact China Skinny for marketing strategy, research and digital advice and implementation.