Here are this week’s news and highlights for China:
Christmas in China: Delusions and Differences: Reading some headlines in Western media may give a different view into how Christmas is in China which, like most things, has some distinctive Chinese characteristics.
Tencent to Challenge Alibaba’s New Retail with New Investment in Yonghui’s Super Species: Tencent has purchased a stake in Super Species, the new retail unit of one of China’s largest supermarket chain operators Yonghui Superstores. Yonghui operates nearly 500 traditional supermarkets across China and 17 Super Species stores. It follows Alibaba’s lead which has 20 Hema Supermarkets and last month it became the second largest shareholder of China’s top grocer Sun Art Retail Group which runs about 450 hypermarkets.
Inside Nanjing Golden Eagle World, “Asia’s Largest Shopping Mall”: The world’s seven biggest malls by gross leasable area are all in Asia, with four of them in China. The latest opening in Nanjing claims to be the biggest of them all (although this is disputable), twice the size of Minnesota’s Mall of America. The mall also contains a 20,000 square metre ‘Automobile Museum’ – more of a showroom for luxury cars which sold 40 vehicles within two days of opening.
Gay or Nay: China’s Changing Attitudes Toward Homosexuality: According to nationwide sexuality surveys, the percentage of Chinese identifying as homosexual has growth from 1.4% to 4.4% between 2000 and 2015, with males at 5.8% and females at 2.8%. 8% of men and 5.4% of women have kissed someone of the same sex. Overall, Chinese people appear to be becoming much less homophobic, with 28.3% of people surveyed disagreeing that homosexual people should be treated equal to other people versus 48.1% in 2010.
Youku Signs Licensing Deals with NBC Universal, Sony Pictures TV: With China’s paying subscribers expected to reach 140m by 2020, video sites are splurging on licensing Hollywood films and producing original content.
Online Shopping is China’s “National Pastime”: KPMG: 77% of Chinese consumers say that online shopping is their “favourite leisure activity”, according to KPMG and online shopping platform Mei.com.
Food Safety Paramount for Chinese Online Shoppers of Imported Food: 43% of buyers of online imported food cite food safety as important, with 41% noting product quality and 40% the ecommerce platform according to iResearch. Australia, the US and Japan were the top-3 preferred origins, interestingly New Zealand didn’t appear in the results. Fresh.jd.com, Mr. Fresh and Womai were the top-3 platforms for online fresh food shoppers.
IBM & Walmart Launching Blockchain Food Safety Alliance In China With JD.com: Tsinghua University National Engineering Laboratory for E-Commerce Technologies have announced a Blockchain Food Safety Alliance collaboration with IBM, Walmart and JD to improve food tracking and safety online and offline in China. Dole, Driscoll’s, Golden State Foods, Kroger, McCormick and Company, McLane Company, Nestlé, Tyson Foods and Unilever have all signalled the intention to collaborate.
Airbnb Sees China as its Number One Market by 2020: A total of 8.6 million travellers from China have used Airbnb services in foreign destinations, and half of Airbnb users in Asia are Chinese. The number of rooms in China ready for rent on Airbnb has reached 150,000, double last year’s number.
3 Reasons Huang Xiaoming Was the Wrong Choice for South Australia Tourism: South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) announced the appointment of Angelababy’s husband and actor Huang Xiaoming as their Global Ambassador. Unless they got a very special deal it would be hard to make the ROI stack. He endorses a lot of products, diluting his authenticity about brands; and he wasn’t aligned to SA’s desire for a small number of high value Chinese travellers as he appeals to the mainstream masses.
China Mobile launches UK phone service: China Mobile is becoming a mobile virtual network operator in the UK, launching its CM Link brand on the BT network targeting Chinese tourists, Chinese students, and Chinese immigrants and expatriates residing in the United Kingdom. It is just the start of their global expansion strategy. Subscribers will be able to call China Mobile’s 880 million customers for free – can’t they do that on WeChat anyway?
Anxious Parents Help China’s Tutoring Companies Thrive: In 2016, more than 130 million private tutoring courses worth over ¥800 billion ($121 billion) were taken by primary and middle school students in China with over 87% of Chinese parents considering private tutoring programs important for their children according to the Chinese Society of Education. 26.6% of parents are willing to spend half of their disposable income on these programs.
China Makes Headway in Fighting Pollution: In the first 11 months of this year 338 Chinese cities saw a combined 20.4% reduction in PM10, compared to that in 2013. The PM2.5 levels in Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei dropped 38.2%, the Yangtze River Delta was down 31.7% and Pearl River Delta dropped 25.6% according to the Minister of Environmental Protection. Keep it coming!
Chinese Consumers Willing to No More Own a Car: 19% of consumers are “very willing” and 51% are “slightly willing” to no longer own a car if mobility alternatives are available according to JD Power. A similar study in the US found 69% still want to own their vehicles.
Alibaba’s Latest Bet Shows Transportation is the Next Battleground for China’s Tech Giants: Not long after announcing a strategic partnership with Ford, Alibaba has invested in Chinese electric car start-up Guangzhou Xiaopeng Motors Technology, following Tencent and Baidu’s investments in the category. Smartphone and appliance maker Xiaomi has also hinted at plans to build electric vehicles. Over 200 Chinese companies have announced plans to build electric cars.