Here are this week’s news and highlights for China:
Consumer Complaints Grew 44% Last Year, Watchdog Reports: China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) handled 2.4 million consumer complaints last year — a 44% increase from the year before. Clothes, furnishing services, home appliances, mobile phones, automobile products, beauty treatments, catering services, internet services, athletic and cultural goods and renting services were categories receiving the most-complaints.
China Names and Shames Volkswagen, Toothbrush Makers in Annual Consumer Gripe Show: CCTV singled out Volkswagen for shaming – the third time in five years – on the annual “315 Gala” consumer watchdog show. Within minutes of the show airing, VW issued a letter on its official Weibo account apologising to car owners affected and promising to set up a hotline for them for resolve the problem. The show also highlighted the poor quality of imported toothbrushes from South Korea and Japan which has the quality control bureau pulling more than 516,000 toothbrushes from store shelves.
Americans’ Favourable Views of China Keep Climbing: Despite rhetoric from Washington, positive views of China reach near 30-year high, with 53% having favourable views, up from 48% last year, and 45% having unfavourable views down from 50% last year according to Gallup research. 67% of the 18-34 demographic gave China a thumbs up.
Local Chinese and Expats Speak Up About Common Misconceptions and Stereotypes People Have of the Country They Call Home: Common misconceptions locals and expats experience and what they wish they could clear up to people who have not experienced or researched China on their own.
Nike, McDonald’s Jump to Put Ads on Little Leaps Forward: The Tiao Yi Tiao (Jump Jump) WeChat mini-game has taken China by storm, with Nike and McDonalds being the first brands to have their logos on the game’s blocks. Although the brands are likely to have paid as much, the rumoured rate to join them starts at ¥5 million ($792,000) a day. The game peaked during this year’s Spring Festival holiday, when there were 28 million simultaneous players.
Arla Foods Ingredients Tailors Skyr for China: Arla Ingredients have developed a new skyr product tailored specifically for dairy companies in the China market. The product is originally from Iceland and is similar to yoghurt with a mild taste, low fat levels and high protein – an increasingly common feature for premium dairy products. Most long shelf life products in China contain artificial additives to keep them smooth and stable but Arla claims its yoghurt concept has the natural stabilising capacity of nutrilac proteins to appeal to Chinese consumers’ increasing demands for clean label products.
Travel Top Priority: Survey: A survey of 100,000 Chinese households found 42.1% claimed travel as the top purchase for 2018, ahead of purchasing consumer goods and healthcare. Chinese travellers are more interested in high-quality trips focused on expanded and personalised tours of local natural and cultural scenes rather than previously popular short stops focused on shopping. Family trips grew 200% in 2017, while customised trips increased by 220%.
Overseas Travel Agencies Work Harder to Attract Chinese Tourists: The Guangzhou International Travel Fair earlier this month attracted 1,029 companies from 53 countries and regions. According to the Italian Consulate in Guangzhou, Chinese tourists are now visiting small towns with history and beautiful sceneries such as Macerata and Matera, instead of Rome and Venice or other metropolis traditionally favored by Chinese tourists, with town tours being popular. Travels focusing on pop culture and sports are also expected to expand.
Death in Chinatown: Who’s Looking After International Students?: An alleyway brawl which left Year 12 student Jeremy Hu dead in Melbourne has raised questions about who’s responsible for keeping international students safe in Australia.
The Future Direction of China’s Sports Policy: Relevant moments from the big Lianghui leader meetings in Beijing earlier this month. Mentions of sport don’t take centre stage but indicate the direction that the Government is heading with sport. There are plenty of sport-specific mentions, but here’s a quote that even sport will be modernised through big data and AI in China … “We will create big, strong industrial clusters in emerging industries, implement the big data development action plan, step up next-generation artificial intelligence R&D and application, and do more to promote the Internet Plus model in many fields like medical care, eldercare, education, culture, and sports.”
Nike Lets Chinese Runners Test Trainers as Players in Giant Video Game: A new activation by Nike in China allows runners to see themselves cruising across a massive screen on their own Super Mario-inspired video game in an effort that brings shoe-trialling and gamification together. Players arrive at the specially-set up venue, pick a pair of trainers and then create their own avatar and get a 10-second video for sharing.
Why ‘Operation Red Sea’ Isn’t Like Other Chinese War Movies: Last month, movie tickets sales in mainland China hit ¥10.1 billion ($1.6 billion), a box office world record for monthly sales in a single market. And as Chinese consumers went movie mad, no film stood out more than “Operation Red Sea,” grossing almost ¥2.5 billion ($390 million) in just 13 days. War films capture growing Chinese national pride and confidence in the military, however in stark contrast to the attempts of “Wolf Warrior 2” to appeal to surging Chinese nationalism, “Operation Red Sea” casts war as crisis-ridden, dangerous, and violent. For all that it thrills, it also leaves audiences scared and repulsed.
The Story Behind the Racist Responses to “Black Panther” in China: In the run-up to the release of Marvel’s Black Panther in China earlier this month, pundits weren’t expecting much due to the largely black cast. Yet its $67 million opening blew past all predictions – up there with some of Marvel’s classic franchises such as Avengers: Age of Ultron, and Spider-Man: Homecoming. Nevertheless, it wasn’t without persistent racist comments on anonymous review sites such as Douban.
China Digital Luxury Report 2018: China pays 122% of the average global prices for luxury goods – the highest in the world – whereas France pays 77%. The number of touch points in Chinese luxury buyers’ customer journeys are the highest in the world, and its growing, with seven offline and eight online touch points. 78% of luxury purchases are influenced by online channels, however wines have the highest portion of luxury sales online at just 10% and account for 76% of overall luxury sales.