Here are this week’s news and highlights for China:
Mark Tanner Discusses the Dynamics in China’s Consumption Market: 5 min vid: Tanner discusses China’s luxury industry, the new ecommerce law, consumer debt, and consumer confidence on CGTN America news.
China’s Economy Grew 6.6% in 2018, the Lowest Pace in 28 Years: Last year, China’s economy grew at its slowest rate since 1990, although it still added an economy bigger than Australia’s and in dollar terms was nearly double the growth of 2007 when it grew 14%. The few bright spots were industrial output being ahead of forecasts, and retail spending increasing 8.2% in December – up from 8.1% in November.
Infographic: ‘Lazy Economy’ Takes Off On Taobao: Last year Chinese consumers spent ¥16 billion ($2.3 billion) on products that cater to the lazy – a 70% increase over the previous year – with the biggest portion of growth attributed by shoppers born after 1995 according to Taobao. Top-trending products on the site include one-swipe eyeshadow palettes, a fuss-free instant hot pot, gamer chairs and smart home appliances, such as automated cooking machines and robotic window-cleaners.
Chinese Companies Lead Push into New Retail Landscape: Freshippo – formerly Hema – now has more than 100 stores in 19 cities in China. Over 40% of its products are from 100 overseas countries and regions. The technology developed for Freshippo has already been adopted by more than 30 retailers in China, with leading hypermarket chain RT-Mart rolling it out across all of its stores. Online retailer Suning is planning to open 15,000 new retail stores in 2019, aiming to drive businesses in Chinese neighbourhoods and rural markets.
Overdoing It: The Cost of China’s Long-Hours Culture: While working hours in the manufacturing sector are declining in China, working hours in white-collar jobs continue to escalate. 40% of respondents reported working longer than 50 hours a week in a Sun Yat Sen University survey. 85% have to work overtime according to another survey by Zhaopin, over half by more than 10 hours. Nearly 20% of adults in China who worked more than 51 hours a week reported feelings of anxiety, with depression and poor sleep also common.
LA Welcomed 1.2 Million Chinese Tourists in 2018: America’s top destination for Chinese tourists saw numbers grow 6.9% last year to 1.2 million, with spending reaching at least $1.2 billion in the city.
Tourism New Zealand Leverages the Reach of WeChat: Tourism NZ has worked with Tencent since 2014 to run targeted ads on WeChat, generating a click-through rate of nearly 10% – double their closest competitor and more than ten times that of the tourism industry average. Tourism NZ tracked prospects over Tencent’s ecosystem while using WeChat’s Ad Moments to target and re-target them, leading to a 236% increase in active visits and 254% more referrals.
China Drove 40% of Mobile App Spending and Nearly Half of All Downloads in 2018: Last year China accounted for close to half of all mobile app downloads and nearly 40% of worldwide consumer spending on apps – around $40 billion. The average user in China had 50-60 apps on their phone, versus over 100 in the US, Japan, South Korea and Australia.
Bytedance Takes on WeChat with New Video Messaging App: Bytedance has launched Duoshan, a video-based messaging app focused on sharing content with friends and family. The app allows users to share videos with their contacts that can disappear after 72 hours, similar to WeChat’s Time Capsule function. Although “like” and “comment” buttons on videos are available in private messages, there is no functionality on public messages in hope of easing the stress that comes with chasing affirmation online. WeChat has already banned Duoshan on its platform as well as anonymous social app Matong and Liaotianbao, the updated Bullet Messenger.
Health, Experience and Plastics: F&B Insights: Consumers in Asia are constantly on the lookout for new products and services that can support them in better managing their health – with optimal convenience. As an example, Chinese consumers are looking to have health supplements formatted as food products with 49% thinking that these will have better effects according to Mintel. Some 40% of Chinese breakfast consumers voice that they would like to see more environmentally friendly packaging for their breakfast. Food brands should also aim to become more experiential, more engaging and more fun.
From ‘Gangster’ to Viral Hit, China Falls Back in Love With Peppa Pig: After being dubbed a gangster by state media and pulled from video platforms last year, a promotional clip for the new Peppa movie has gone viral, earning the brand – previously more popular among city-based children – new fans in rural China.
Tmall a Hub for China’s Millennial Bookworms: Tmall says it sold 1 billion physical books last year, the equivalent of a third of all books in the retail market. Shoppers bought an average of 5.5 books on the platform with 80% of book-buyers born after 1980. According to the Chinese Academy of Press and Publication, 2017 saw the percentage of Chinese readers using e-Readers rise to 73%, up from 68% in 2016. Also in 2017, China’s overall book market jumped 14.6% year-over-year to ¥80.3 billion ($11.8 billion).
Number of British Schools in China to More than Double: There are expected to be 46 British private school campuses in China by the end of 2019, more than double the number two years before. Many were expanding beyond Beijing and Shanghai to cities like Guangzhou and Chongqing.
Burberry Fiasco Another Lesson for Foreign Labels: Burberry has quietly removed a WeChat ad by American photographer Ethan James Green featuring Chinese actress Zhao Wei and Zhou Dongyu. The advert aimed to celebrate family traditions and togetherness but has spooked Chinese consumers who reacted to it like a “horror” film. It was way off the mark from portraying Chinese culture says Global Times.
Rich Chinese Still Hungry for Luxury Goods Despite Slowdown: Affluent Chinese are still optimistic, however the energy is a little bit duller this year according to a survey by CSG and Ruder Finn. Nevertheless, 46% of respondents in mainland China and 32% in Hong Kong say they planned to spend more on luxury purchases this year compared to 2018.