Here are this week’s news and highlights for China:
Billionaire Jack Ma Adopts ‘Moneyball’ Approach to China Sports: Just as professional sports teams have used reams of data to maximize performance, Chinese billionaire Jack Ma is turning to analytics to get the most out of users and change the way athletic events are managed and how people shop for gear. The service kicks off by targeting marathon runners, with e-sports, football and basketball expected to follow.
Ctrip to Offer ¥100 million ($14.5 million) Skiing Subsidies Ahead of Winter Olympics: Ctrip is spending $14.5 million on subsidies in hope of cementing its position as the ski-hub for China. The move is part of the company’s “300-million-user skiing project”, in line with Beijing’s winter sports initiative ahead of the 2022 Olympic Winter Games. The company predicts that by the end of 2019, two million users will have registered for skiing activities and it will have more than 700 skiing venue partners.
NBA Partners with ByteDance to Increase Chinese Presence Through Digital Content: NBA has signed a multi-year contract will allow fans in China to see short-form NBA content on Douyin, Toutiao and Xigua video platforms. ByteDance plans to leverage its AI to push customizable content to fans based on their preference and content they like to view throughout the regular season and through the NBA Finals.
The Huawei Arrest Fuelled Another Online Surge of Outraged Patriotism in China: When Canada confirmed it had arrested Meng Wanzhou, CFO at Huawei and the daughter of its founder, online patriotism and worry immediately surged in China. Quotes like “The disgusting United States, it is time to unite… we need to get united and face the outside [force] together. Let’s support Huawei, support JD, support domestic products. Come on, Chinese compatriots,” were flooding Chinese social media. The trade war has just got a lot more personal for many Chinese.
Weibo’s Online Slang: 10 Chinese ‘Tribes’ & ‘Clans’ to Know: A large part of China’s online slang culture is the categorization of people into ‘tribes’ or ‘clans’, many which represent a bigger trend in China’s transforming society and digital culture. They include: Dītóuzú: “The Bowed Head Clan”; Yuèguāngzú: “The Moonlight Clan”; Kùkōuzú: “The Cool Carl”; Kěnlǎozú: “The Leech Tribe”; Hènjiàzú: “The Hate-to-get-married Tribe”; Shǎnhūnzú: “The Flash Marriage Group”; Fènnù Qīngnián): “The Angry Youth”; Biāotídǎng: “The Clickbait Club”; Jiànpánxiá: “The Keyboard Warriors” and Xīhāzú: “The Hip Hop Clan”. On the subject, the unofficial ‘character of the year’ is qiou, a creative combination of ‘dirt-poor’ and ‘ugly,’ used by many self-mocking folk online.
Chinese Buck Trends of Consumers Leeriness of the Sharing Economy: 58% of US and UK consumers said the risks of using sharing services outweighed the benefits whereas Chinese consumers were much more enthusiastic with 68% saying the benefits outweigh the risks according to Lloyd’s of London research.
Small and Tech Savvy Firms in China are Shaking Up the Personal Care Sector: Brands like Pechoin, Marie Dalgar, Three Squirrels and One Leaf are taking advantage of lower barriers to entry offered by digital to win notable market share in China. Major changes to the retail sector, an increase in consumers’ desire for lifestyle, health and wellness products, and a willingness to pay a premium for them have also contributed to the brands’ successes.
The Complete China Cross Border Ecommerce List: The new cross border ecommerce list following the new 2019 laws. The 63 new items are highlighted including pet food, seafood and some new wine and beer varieties, jewellery, flash lights, staplers, oral hygiene products, vitamins, adult dipers, Wellington boots, ski boots and roller skates. Surprising to see shark fins as one of the new additions to the list given the campaigns against it over recent years.
Alibaba to Open First Ecommerce Trade Hub in Europe: Alibaba continues its gradual global roll out signing an MOU with the Belgium government to create a trade hub that will help companies in the country to sell products abroad. The agreement follows similar eWTP initiatives in Malaysia and Rwanda.
Macy’s Ends Tmall Store in Second China Strategy Shift of 2018: Macy’s is shutting its Tmall store and will now ship to Chinese consumers directly from its US website which will have increased functionality. The retailer has been criticized for not bringing anything unique or compelling to China, rather making “an opportunistic play designed to generate a bit of incremental revenue. As such, the offer was never properly optimized or invested in.”
When AI is the Product: The Rise of AI-Based Consumer Apps: Interesting view into the new era of AI consumer-based apps spreading around the world, starting from China. The best-known example is Douyin/TikTok which uses AI algorithms decide which videos to show users, rather than making recommendation for users to tap/click like Facebook’s news feed, Netflix, Spotify, and YouTube. Other examples include Soul which uses AI and anonymity as the cornerstones for facilitating relationships based on complementary personalities, interests, and values; and LingoChamp, providing affordable education.
What are the Latest Trends for Chinese Wine Consumers: Chinese consumers prefer white wines with slight sweetness and moderate acidity, as well as red wines with medium to lower acidity and tannin levels, plus some sweetness according to the Beijing University of Agriculture following research into consumers with little wine drinking experience. Health concerns prevent them from buying dessert wines, with the only exception being Ice Wines, although these are usually bought for gifts. Female consumers are more tolerant of wines with higher sweetness, while male consumers are more tolerant of bitterness and tannins.
No Blood, No Gambling: Four Ways Games are Changed for China: Game developers need often need to change their games to launch in China. Examples include removing blood – usually replaced with things like green puffs of smoke or crude oil-type stuff for shoot-em-up-games. Skulls or skeletons, sexual and gambling content, and revealing clothes are also banned.