Here are this week’s news and highlights for China:
Box Office: ‘Ne Zha’ Becomes Sixth Movie To Top $700 Million In A Single Territory: Animated movie Ne Zha has become the second highest-grossing movie ever in China behind Wolf Warrior II, and just the sixth movie globally to ever pass $700 million in a single territory.
Goods Exports to China by US Congressional Districts Dropped in 2018: 265 congressional districts saw lower exports to China last year than 2017, with Midwestern and Plains districts hit particularly hard. The value of US goods exports in fell 7% in 2018 to $118 billion. 26.5% of the 333 respondents to AmCham’s annual survey said they have redirected investment away from China over the past year, up 6.9 percentage points from 2018. Technology, hardware, software and services (40%); industrial manufacturing (37.1%); and chemicals (36.7%) were the most likely sectors to look elsewhere according to the latest AmCham survey.
Muji Issues Apology in China after Campaign Called Out as ‘Culturally Insensitive’: Japanese brand Muji has been called out as ‘culturally insensitive’ by sensitive Chinese consumers who spotted a Weibo post which referred to the ‘French Concession’ in directions to a store. The area was previously a foreign concession in Shanghai between 1849 until 1943.
Top 500 Apps in China by Users in June 2019: WeChat, QQ, Taobao, Qiyi Video, AliPay, Weibo, Sogou, QQLive Video, Baidu and Autonavi Minimaps were China’s apps that had the most users in June this year.
Chinese Buyers Shrug Off Lack of 5G as Orders for Apple’s iPhone 11 Surge: Sales for the iPhone 11 on Tmall reached ¥100 million ($14.1 million) in less than a minute, and day one pre-sales for the iPhone 11 series jumped 480% on JD.com showing strong demand for the new devices. Nevertheless, some analysts are picking Apple’s 10.5%-23% higher pricing than the US, lack of 5G and rising nationalism and support of Huawei is likely to hurt Apple’s iPhone 11 sales in China. 219,000 5G devices sold in China last month.
China’s Pork Prices Surge 47% in August Amid Swine Fever Outbreak: The surge in pork prices contributed to a 10% gain in food prices overall in August, as well as pushing up the price of beef, mutton and chicken. Fresh fruit prices in China also continued to rise in August, jumping 24% year-on-year, but a smaller increase than July’s 39%. The consumer price index (CPI) in August rose 2.8% on-year, unchanged from July. To help control pork security risks, Beijing wants large pig farms to account for 58% of total by 2022 – in 2016, just 18% of pig farms were estimated to produce more than 10,000 pigs a year. There were 69 times more mainland media articles related to “pork” than “China-US trade” as of the end of last week, and Baidu search traffic for the keyword “pig” also overtook searches for “China-US trade” and “Hong Kong issue” during the week ending September 8.
The Inside Scoop on Ice Cream: Chinese Consumers Want Both Indulgence and Health: Chinese consumers no longer just see ice cream as a summer treat, but as a dessert or snack that can be eaten year-round. Consumers are eating ice cream to indulge and treat themselves, with brands hoping to grow by targeting younger consumers or offering lower calorie options. 61% of dessert consumers are willing to pay more for desserts that are all-natural or free from additives. 54% are prepared to pay more for desserts that are high in nutrition such as probiotics or protein. 49% of consumers claimed to have desserts after meals according to Mintel, with 62% wanting to try new flavours.
Durian Chicken Nuggets are a Thing and We Tried Them: In KFC’s latest China-localisation initiative, durian-chicken nuggets are selling at ¥11.5 ($1.60) for a four-piece pack or as part of the ¥39 ($5.50) five-food basket. Although they possess the distinctive smell, the flavour is largely overpowered by the fried coating.
China Mengniu Offers 59% Premium for Baby-Formula Maker Bellamy’s: Mengniu Dairy has agreed to buy Australian organic infant formula maker Bellamy’s for A$1.5 billion ($1 billion). “Our sales growth ambitions for Bellamy’s in Australia, and the broader Asia-Pacific region, will see investment in the local dairy industry,” says Mengniu’s CEO. An interestingly-timed acquisition with competitor A2 hosting its major investor conference in China this week, attracting an army of investment analysts from Australia and NZ to Shanghai.
Chinese Travellers are Looking for Adventure: 16.3% of respondents in a Chinese traveller survey chose an adventure trip for their last holiday. 2.7% of departures could be categorized as ‘hard adventure,’ while 13.6% pursued ‘soft adventure’ experiences. Time in nature, camping and backpacking are some of the most popular activities for Chinese adventure tourists. 72% of Chinese adventure travellers spend between 4-10 days abroad, less than Western adventure travellers.
Hong Kong Protests Scare Away 90% of Mainland China Tour Groups: The number of Chinese group tours to HK fell 90% compared to a year ago in the first ten days of September. In the month of August, the decline was 63% compared to a year ago – overall tourism declined almost 40% in August. Retail sales by value dropped 11.4% in July – the first full month affected by the protests.
Zhang Weili Named China’s First UFC Champion After Defeating Jessica Andrade in Just 42 Seconds: Will Zheng ‘Magnum’ Weili do for UFC in China what Yao Ming did for basketball and Li Na for tennis?
US Colleges Look to Insure Against Impact of Trade War: A 10% decline in new international student enrolments at US universities over the past two academic years has already cost the US economy $5.5 billion. Universities are increasingly insuring against exposure to a fall in Chinese students. In June, the Chinese government warned students and academics about the risk of studying in the US in the light of visa refusals. The UK reported a 30% rise in applications from Chinese students this year compared with 2018, with Canadian universities up 15% [FT Paywall].
To Give or Not to Give? Chinese Parents Struggle with Teacher’s Day Gift Etiquette: Expensive presents are officially discouraged but have become the norm at many schools on day of appreciation for educators.
Chinese School Sparks Sexism Row After Urging Boys to Grow ‘Heroically’ and Girls to be ‘Tranquil’: A Chengdu school teaches boys to build model rockets while girls learn about knitting. The handicrafts show at the school prompted question, ‘Why can’t boys knit and girls build rockets?’. Another example of gender education included a lurid “virtue” class where a sobbing woman was seen on video confessing to teenagers at a summer camp in Wenzhou that “promiscuous women got gangrene”. “I dressed myself up in a fashionable and revealing way, and that’s an invitation for others to insult me and rape me,” she told her audience. “Three drops of sperm are equal to poison, and they will hurt unclean women,” she said. “I’m afraid my body will rot, will stink and ache, and they’ll have to amputate my legs.”