Keeping up with the dynamic Chinese consumer is essential for anyone selling in China, but it’s also a good idea to stay abreast of ever-changing regulations. We obviously need to comply with the laws, but also understanding the regulations’ nuances provides interesting insights into how Beijing wants to shape things, which affects almost every component of selling in China.
Many exporters are familiar with last month’s introduction of cross border and daigou regulations which provided further evidence of Beijing’s support for local products. In addition, there has been a string of recent introductions of new laws that foreign brands should be aware of. There’s the possible ¥1 million ($154K) fine for using superlatives in communications, such as the “highest”, “best” or “national level,” reminding brands to be humble when operating in China.
New food and beverage safety laws were launched last October in hope of addressing one of China’s most pertinent challenges – the lack of trust in food. The evolving rules will impact many exporters, covering everything from pre-imports to selling online.
In March this year we were again reminded how conservative China’s law makers remain, when they banned homosexuality, drinking and vengeance on television. Last month, new legislation prohibited reality TV from featuring celebrities’ kids, halting production of shows such as the uber-popular Daddy Where Are We Going, which has been used by international destinations New Zealand, Fiji and Western Australia to promote their attractions. Even the big budget Tang Dynasty drama was pulled and edited after it was considered that A-lister Fan Bingbing showed too much cleavage.
Trade shows haven’t been immune either, with female models in tight dresses and miniskirts banned from last year’s Shanghai Auto Show.
Whereas online has traditionally been less regulated than traditional channels, this is changing. New rules are constantly introduced by digital channels such as Tmall, WeChat and Youku which reflect direction from Beijing; the most recent ban on eating banana’s sexily on streaming video.
New online search engine regulations were also swiftly introduced this week, following the outcry from the death of a 21-year old student who had found ineffective treatment after clicking on a paid medical advertisement on Baidu. The tragedy may also further impact Chinese consumers’ search behaviour, which is already different from the West due to limited trust in Baidu results. #BringBackGoogle.
No product or service selling in China is immune to Beijing policy, so best to keep on top of it. Go to Page 2 to see this week’s China news and highlights.