Here are this week’s news and highlights for China:
Online Shopping in China to Double by 2020: Goldman Report: Goldman has increased its China ecommerce forecasts by 15%, projecting the market will grow to $1.7 trillion by 2020 compared with $750 billion in 2016. An additional 200 million shoppers will join last year’s 460 million. Online sales of FMCG categories such as groceries, personal care and healthcare, packaged foods and other everyday items typically found in supermarkets are predicted to rise from 5% to 13% of sales overall.
Alibaba Group Promotes Australian Products with Seven Chinese Influencers: Seven Chinese ecommerce influencers are set to tour Australia with the Alibaba Group, promoting Australia’s products and lifestyle to Chinese consumers. Influencers were chosen from ‘Alibaba Passport’ (APASS), a more than 100,000-strong member group of highly active Chinese consumers who spend over $35,000 across Alibaba’s platforms annually.
Forbes 2017 Billionaires List: Meet The Richest People On The Planet: The US continues to have more billionaires than any other nation according to Forbes, with a record 565 tycoons. Second-placed Mainland China counted 319 (387 including HK and Macau). China had the most new billionaires accounting for 76 of the 195 newcomers, with the US second on 25. China also had the most fall off the list – 33. Of the 15 new self-made women billionaires, all but one are from Asia Pacific, including 10 from China.
Infographic: Online Fresh Food Trends in China: What food is hot right now with Chinese consumers online, which segments are eating what and where is the food coming from?
China’s Trading Partners Alarmed by Food Import Controls: Officials from the US, the EU, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Argentina, Chile and other governments sent a letter to the AQSIQ and are bringing the top U.N. food standards official to Beijing hoping to persuade regulators to scale back plans that will require each consignment of food – including products like wine and chocolate – to have a certificate from an inspector confirming it meets Chinese quality standards. Other countries only require such inspections for meat, dairy and other perishable items.
Chinese Authorities Seize Shrimps Injected with Gelatin From Local Market: In the latest China food scandal, batches of shrimps in a Guangdong market were found to be injected with gelatin to make the shrimps appear healthier or to cover up rotten meat. Last week, a popular French bakery in Shanghai was closed due to allegations for using expired flour.
In China, Chave to be on Guard Not Just Against Fake Food, but also Fake News About Food: From April 2015 to March 2016, over 15% of the 2,175 rumours that were widely read and reported on WeChat were linked to its food-and-health news category, making the section the most frequent source of unsubstantiated or exaggerated information on the app. An article stating “crayfish is filled with parasites” was shared and viewed over 54 million times on WeChat last year. Another goodie: “seedless grapes are cultivated with birth control medicines.”
Chinese Supermarkets Pull Brazil Meat from Shelves as Food Safety Fears Grow: Wal-Mart, Metro, Sun Art Retail and JD are among the Chinese retailers who have taken Brazilian beef and chicken off shelves following accusations of inspectors taking bribes to allow sales of rotten and salmonella-tainted meats in Brazil.
China Backs Down on Tough new Ecommerce Laws in Boost for Exporters: China has indefinitely delayed tough new-cross border e-commerce laws bringing licensing and labelling requirements that had threatened to disrupt the flow of cross-border commerce sales. The surprising backdown came ahead of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang’s visit to Australia and New Zealand whose food and health exports stand to gain from the decision. The statement also said the number of pilot free trade zones, which can house cross-border ecommerce operations, would be increased from 10 to 15 [paywall].
Chinese Women Are Killing it in WeChat Commerce: While women account for just 25% of all entrepreneurs in China, they have founded 55% of new online businesses. WeChat store provider Youzan says over 40% of nearly 3 million shop owners are female, with the figure expected to hit 50% within the year as a new take on Tupperware parties takes hold.
China Blocks Pinterest: Pinterest has followed Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat, and Picasa, to be banned in China, coincidently around the time of the ‘Two Sessions’ annual gathering of China’s governing classes.
China Considers Ways to Speed Up Time to Market for Imported Drugs: Imported drugs may be allowed to directly apply for market authorisation once completing international multi-centre clinical trials if proposed regulations are passed. Imported drugs currently face 3-4 years of reviews on average before being allowed into the Chinese market, compared with about 10 months in the US.
Ctrip Opens 5,500 Retail Outlets in 22 Provinces, Cities Across China: China’s leading travel provider has opened more than 5,500 integrated retail outlets in tier 1-4 cities in 22 provinces across China. It plans to increase the number to 6,500 by the end of the year, further reinforcing the benefit of an online and offline presence.
China’s Water Cleaner in 2016, but Still Short of Expectation: Official: Last year, 67.8% of monitored surface water areas in China were ranked from Grade I to Grade III, indicating “relatively good quality.” The reading is slightly up on the 66% in 2015.
Alibaba Pictures is the Company to Watch in Chinese Entertainment: Alibaba Pictures is laying the groundwork to be a major player in traditional entertainment and is using the collision of entertainment and technology to fundamentally disrupt its industry. Through its online stores, Youku and Tudou video streaming sites, Weibo, the growing Alibaba Cloud computing service and UCWeb mobile browser, Alibaba can see what hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers are buying and watching in real time, which can help shape movie themes.