Here are this week’s news and highlights for China:
Money Can’t Buy Happiness: Why a Massive Rise in Wealth Left Chinese People Less Happy: The past quarter century has seen personal incomes go up roughly fivefold in China, and hundreds of millions of households have been able to afford colour televisions, air conditioners, washing machines and refrigerators for the first time. But people are less happy on average than 25 years ago according to the World Happiness Report.
Why So Many Chinese Millennials Can Afford their Own Homes: An HSBC study found 70% of Chinese millennials (19-36) surveyed owned their own home versus 35% in the US and 31% in the UK. 57% of all Chinese millennial homeowners have been helped by the parents to buy.
Americans’ Views of China Improve as Economic Concerns Ease: Americans’ views towards China are softening, with 44% having a favourable view versus 37% last year, and 47% having an unfavourable view down from 55% last year according to Pew. 18-29 year old Americans are much more positive, relative to older Americans. China’s economic strength is seen as much more of a threat than its military strength. The large amount of US debt held by China is Americans’ greatest concern, although it has dropped 7 percentage points from 2016, whereas cyberattacks are the next biggest issue, rising 1 percentage point this year. Curiously, American students are losing interest in China studies.
United Is Feeling the Sway of Consumers in Asia: It wasn’t until reports that the social media storm against United had spread to China that United’s stock sunk – dropping 4% lower at one stage – close to $1 billion including almost $100 million on Warren Buffet’s holding.
Chinese Tourists Spent 12% More in Travelling Abroad in 2016: China’s international tourism expenditure grew by $11 billion to $261 billion in 2016, 12% more than 2015 (in local currency) and more than double second placed USA’s $122 billion. The number of outbound travellers rose 6% to 135 million in 2016 according to the UNWTO.
Make America Friendly Again, Advises CEO of Chinese Travel Giant: Ctrip’s boss says the US should lay down the welcome mat if it wants to continue attracting big-spenders from China. When it comes to travel, “Chinese consumers always pick the place that is friendly to them.”
Malaysia China Tourism up 72% After Korea Row: China to Malaysia airline bookings from 16 March, 2017 to 31 August, 2017 surged 72% year-on-year helped by the China National Tourism Administration encouraging more Chinese tours to Malaysia and away from Korea.
Meituan Expands O2O Business into Homestay: Food delivery App (among other things) Meituan has announced a homestay business, listing some properties in tier-one cities as well as popular travel destinations on its app. It plans to increase its housing supply to 150,000 properties by the end of this year.
The VR Kingdom: Is the Virtual Reality Boom in China the Real Thing?: VR is currently one of the most talked-about technologies in China with significant interest from gamers, but also shopping, finance, education and health industries. Yet a number of hardware manufacturers have failed – not unusual for industries with a lot of hype. Some are saying the experience currently doesn’t live up to expectations for categories such as shopping and there is limited high quality content, although this is quite common for industries in their infancy.
This is What One of China’s Newest Luxury Internet Cafes Looks Like: The Wolfz gaming lounge opened last week in Shenzhen complete with 1,700 square metres of space with 230 computers, 11 large rooms to book, and 5 VIP rooms. The cafe is owned by Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou, who is such a huge gaming fan that he owns a professional League of Legends team, called J-Gaming. He plans to franchise the Wolfz concept. China’s internet cafe scene is ripe for investment by bigger firms; there are 160,000 cafes of which only 0.2% are chains.
Infographic: Chinese Consumers’ Online Fresh Food Preferences: 60.5% of all fresh food sold in China is now available online, here are some of the preferences by region, gender and special holidays including which fruit are most popular.
‘Wine City’ Symbolises Faltering Hopes at China’s Vineyards: Last year wine sales in China expanded by about 7%, with much of the rebound has been driven by growing Chinese consumer preference for foreign wines. Imported wines accounted for a third of the 150m cases of still wine sold in China last year, according to Rabobank, up from less than 20% in 2011 [paywall].
Can China Lead the Way to a Better Environment?: Beijing is showing many signs of global leadership for the environment, but the reality on the ground has been mixed so far. Beijing is the world leader for renewable energy accounting for a third of all global investments in 2015, yet the country remains heavily reliant on coal generation. Coal accounts for almost double the production of every other form of generation combined and is forecast to grow by 19% by 2020. Although air pollution gets intense focus, water and soil contamination gets decidedly less attention despite being potentially more serious.
Geely: The Astonishing Rise of a Small Chinese Car Company: Ten years ago, Geely was a maker of problem-prone cars with names like King Kong and Beauty Leopard, and with sticker prices under $10,000. When Chinese consumers couldn’t afford a better car, they turned to Geely. Today, Geely is busting all-time sales and profit records as has its Volvo acquisition.