Mark Tanner
31 October 2012 0 Comments

Welcome to this week's skinny on China.  Legend has it, about 1200 years ago, a goat herder in the Ethiopian Highlands noticed his animals getting frisky after eating berries from a coffee plant. Intrigued, the herder picked some fruit and took them to a nearby holy man, who wanted nothing of it, tossing the berries into a fire.  But the sweet scent of the roasting coffee soon became irresistible, and the men raked up the embers, grounded and dissolved them in hot water, creating the first cup of coffee.  By the 17th century, the good drink had spread up the Nile to north Africa and across to the Arabian Peninsula, before making it’s way to Europe and then much of the world.  But not to China.  

China has long been a steadfast nation of tea drinkers.  But over the past few years that has changed with Chinese increasingly drinking coffee.  Starbucks are picking China to be the 2nd largest coffee market outside of the US in two years.  That’s great for the coffee industry, but it also represents a shift in Chinese attitudes towards western lifestyles and products that were not even considered a generation ago.  Below you’ll find a few articles about how coffee and cafes have been adapted to appeal to Chinese tastes as well as the usual spread of news and views on how to woo more Chinese consumers. 

If you have any friends or colleagues looking to grow their coffee business, tourism revenue or exporting anything to China, please lend them a helping hand and pass this newsletter onto them. After that, grab yourself a coffee and enjoy the news…

Chinese consumers Understanding Chinese Consumers

A Letter to China, from America: How Starbucks, KFC & McDonalds represent the first step for Chinese consumers into western products and the opportunities it brings for exporters. Some good data on American exports to China.

China's Middle Class Muscles In On Luxury Class: What Chinese consumers are spending their money on these days.

Social Responsibility Could Be Key To Deeper Connections With Chinese Consumers : Will social responsibility be the key for brands to evolve in China as consumers get over their bling fixation and become a bit more sophisticated?

Chinese food Food & Beverage – Coffee

Nestle to Battle Starbucks Over Chinese Portioned Coffee Market: The average Chinese consumer drinks just three cups of coffee a year, less than 1/200 of the cups the French do, but its growing 19% p.a. and Nestle hoping to tap into that.

China’s Coffee Industry is Starting to Stir: How Coffee's big boys (& girls) Starbucks and Nestle have made big bucks in China. Getting China's tea drinkers to sip coffee has many their lessons for other industries pioneering in China.

Chinese tourism Tourism

Tips for Marketing to Affluent Chinese Consumers: Great article with advice to woo the 60m Chinese travelling overseas annually, much which can be applied to other industries.

How Can Brands Use China’s Media Landscape To Their Advantage?: Some advice on tapping into the media in China to attract Chinese tourists, students, investors and shoppers.

Chinese Internet Internet & Mobiles

Chinese Consumers Favor HTC Smartphones Less in September: Chinese mobile brands eroding the territory of some of the more established smartphone manufacturers in China – further signs that Chinese brands are becoming acceptable to Chinese consumers for certain categories.

How Luxury Brands Can Reach The Online Shopper in China: Good summary of Forrester research on online purchasing habits by Chinese consumers. An interesting outtake is that 79% of low income online consumers claim to buy some sort of luxury good on the Internet. It doesn't elaborate whether that includes fakes, however one third of online Chinese consumers are very concerned about buying fake goods online.

Chinese luxury goods
Luxury Goods

Chinese Shoppers Power Global Luxury Sales: Insights into the global market for luxury goods: Tourists account for 40% of luxury purchases with Chinese tourists making one-third of purchases in Europe. Overall, China accounts for 25% of the global market.

Luxury Goods to Slow as Chinese Spend Less: Carrying on from the last article, Mainland China growth on luxury goods is expected to be 18% this year – not bad until you compare it with the 30% and 35% over the past two years

Chinese retail Fashion

Hidden European Fashion Billionaires Undressed on China: In the middle of dire economic times in their own countries, a few European fashion manufacturers are doing very well out of China's appetite for their rags.

Chinese banking Wealth Management

Growing Popularity of Wealth Management Products in China: China's high savings are increasingly being invested in wealth management products – up 15.7% for the 1st half of 2012 from a year earlier, although nothing like the 123% growth in the 12 months before.


That's the skinny for the week!

If you've missed earlier news or need to learn more, there's a trove of information about Chinese consumers in prior China Skinny Weeklys right here. You can have this delivered to your inbox each week by subscribing for email updates, or if social media is more your thing, please follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Linked In or Google+, or subscribe to our RSS feed.  If you have any feedback or suggestions for future articles, please let us know.