Here are this week’s news and highlights for China:
Holding Up Half the Sky: Women Speak Out on the Status of Feminism in China: An interesting insight into women in China, urban versus rural, young versus old.
Putting the Customer First in China: Chinese consumers rated 80% of 60 well-known brands to deliver mediocre customer service according to Forrester research in 2015. Although Chinese product standards are catching up, their service fares particularly badly. In the auto industry, only five Chinese brands made it into the top 25 for overall sales satisfaction. Just 60% of Chinese-branded cars come back cleaner after a service, versus 80% of foreign cars.
In Deal With Didi, Uber Frees Itself to Expand in Other Markets: Uber is selling its China operations to fierce rival Didi, after both companies burnt through billions of dollars to compete.
Wal-Mart Offers New Mobile Cross-Channel Features for Chinese Shoppers: Walmart is allowing customers to shop in-store using WeChat Pay, is offering a digital gift card on WeChat and has launched a ‘loyalty program’ that sends offers to WeChat followers.
$7,000-a-Month ‘Shameless China’ Blogger Loses All With One Post: With 220,000 followers on WeChat and posts often attracting more than 1 million views, blog Shameless China has been shut down after an English-language post mocking Chinese men’s hairstyles, including former President Jiang Zemin’s slick-backed coiffure. Tencent deleted 85,000 rumour articles and 7,000 accounts were punished for violating regulations in May “to maintain a healthy internet environment.”
Mi Notebook Air: Xiaomi Makes Laptop Foray With MacBook Air Lookalike: After falling to 5th place for smartphone sales in China, Xiaomi is hoping its two new slim-lined, ultraportable laptops with dedicated graphics cards will help bump up sales. Prices start at ¥3,499 yuan ($525).
Chinese Tech Firm LeEco Announces Purchase of U.S. TV Maker Vizio for $2 Billion: TV and phone maker LeEco is the latest cashed-up Chinese brand to make a big overseas acquisition, as they look to grow their market share in the US.
Singapore Retailers Use WeChat to Lure More Chinese Shoppers: The association for Singapore’s famous Orchard Road shopping street has opened a WeChat account in hope of enticing more Chinese tourists, who increased by 53.2% last year.
Sports Travel Sluggish but Gathering Pace Across the Country: Eight years since the Beijing Olympics, less than 3,000 Chinese will visit Rio de Janeiro for this month’s Games. The low numbers aren’t helped by the long travel times to Brazil, lack of direct flights and a spate of negative media about security risks in Rio. Sports travel accounts for just 5% of China’s overall tourism market – ¥170 billion ($24 billion), but is expected to grow almost 6-fold by 2025. In developed countries, it is around 25%.
Anxious Tourism Officials Respond to Veiled Threat with Chinese Charm Campaign: The Thai Prime Minister has been giving speeches, the Tourism Authority has invited Chinese media and an infographic was circulated to ensure Thai’s population openly welcomes Chinese tourists and that applying stereotypes can be hurtful. South Korea’s Tourism industry is similarly concerned, worried that the country’s deployment of the THAAD defence system, long opposed by China, will harm the number of Chinese visitors to Korea.
Mondelēz Adapts Milka to Local Tastes for China launch: After entering the gum category in China four years ago and growing revenue to $200 million, Mondelēz is now having a crack at chocolate. The company has tailored its recipe to appeal to Chinese consumers, selling quick melting, long-lasting chocolate with the rich taste of cocoa and milk. Prices are slightly above average. China’s $2.8 billion chocolate market does have some room for growth: Brits currently consume 78 times more per capita, Russians 51, Americans 44 and Brazilians 16.
Chinese Startups Lure Venture Capitalists Betting on a Baby Boom: Use of health and fitness apps grew by nearly 130% in China over the past 12-months, the second-fastest growing category after photography apps.
Wanda Cinemas to Acquire Mtime Chinese Movie E-Commerce Site in $350 Million Deal: Wanda Cinemas is buying e-commerce, news and ticketing portal, and film merchandiser Mtime in a bid to create “one-stop marketing solutions” for film studios and other media companies. The takeover follows Wanda’s acquisition of Legendary Entertainment for $3.5 billion in January, last month’s $1.2 billion deal for Europe’s largest cinema chain Odeon and UCI Cinemas Group, AMC Theatres for $2.6 billion in 2012, and current bid for Carmike Cinemas, upping its offer last week to $1.2 billion. It is also in talks to acquire a 49% stake in Paramount Pictures.
Chinese Buyers Plant a Flag in the U.S. Suburbs: Nationals from Greater China continued to be the top foreign buyers of US homes for the year ended March 2016. Chinese bought 29,195 homes totalling about $27 billion versus the second-place Canadians who bought 26,851 homes worth only $9 billion.
Report Reveals China’s Luxury Market Back to ‘Rational Growth’: China’s luxury market is returning to a “rational growth” profile, with product quality (73.9%), better cost (57.2%) and brand culture (52.8%) the most important factors for purchasing decisions according to Fortune China.