Here are this week’s news and highlights for China:
Zeitguide to Chinese Millennials: Global brands are trying to master two booming markets today: Chinese consumers and millennials everywhere. That might make Chinese millennials the most-sought, and least understood, consumer group on the planet.
Party On, Chinese Consumers: Online lender Qudian’s successful IPO on the NYSE indicates how bullish investors are about growing Chinese consumption, particularly fuelled by debt. If President Xi Jinping is to realize his “Chinese dream” he can’t afford to choke consumption, for all the talk of reining in debt. Just 0.5% of Qudian’s loans are over 30 days past due, assisted by Alibaba’s Ant Financial credit ratings.
Opportunities Abound for Foreign Small Businesses: Paloma Sanchez quit her job at Patek Philippe in 2008 to found her own jewelry brand in Beijing and has been able to grow rapidly as consumers have quickly become highly sophisticated in her industry. “At first, they only wanted the big brands — Cartier, Tiffany’s, etc. But very soon, they learned the value of designer, one-of-a-kind jewelry,” says Sanchez – a transition that took less than five years versus 50 years in Europe.
Why China is Seeing a Huge Increase in Breast Cancer Rates: Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in China, with the cancer increasing at a rate of around 3.5% a year from 2000 to 2013, compared with a drop of 0.4% a year over the same period in the US. There is a stark correlation between the size of the city and rates, with cities over a million people having twice the rate of the cancer as cities with less than 500,000.
Campaign Warns Chinese to Pinch Their Salt Intake: Chinese people consume about 11 grams of salt on average each day, more than double the 5 grams recommended by the World Health Organization so Action on Salt China (ASC), have launched a four-year anti-sodium crusade to reduce this 30% by 2025. Compared with European and North American countries, where processed foods are the main culprit responsible for high-sodium diets, Chinese people’s own cooking is the source of 80% of their salt consumption. More than 335 million Chinese adults had hypertension in 2010.
McDonald’s, KFC Eye Growth in Chinese Hinterland: KFC is hoping to grow sales for the first time since 2013 by opening new stores in less-tapped cities. The chain currently operates in 1,100 China cities, but are investigating another 900. McDonald’s only has around half of KFC’s 5,300 stores, but is planning to have 45% of its stores in lower tier cities by 2020. In fourth-tier cities of fewer than 2.6 million people, average wages climbed 5.4% last year according to McKinsey.
Alibaba’s Latest Open Sesame: Live Crabs in Vending Machines: If car vending machines weren’t enough, Alibaba has expanded its repertoire to include live hairy crabs in Shanghai, selling for ¥15 ($2.25) for a 125g critter. JD is also upping its game offline, testing two unmanned convenience stores in Beijing.
The Mountains of Takeout Trash Choking China’s Cities: China’s meal delivery companies process almost 400 million orders every week, with the three major meal delivery platforms going through 65 million food containers, 20 million pairs of disposable chopsticks, and 20 million plastic bags every day. 71.6% of respondents said they were unaware of the environmental issues involved in food delivery according to a Global Times survey. China is responsible for almost one-third of all oceanic plastic waste with pollutants ingested by fish making their way back up the food chain and into humans, leading to increased risks of cancer and birth defects.
China Has Shut Down Up to 40% of Its Factories in an Unprecedented Stand Against Pollution: As part of China’s crackdown against pollution an estimated 40% of factories have been tempoarary closed and individuals from more than 80,000 factories have been charged with criminal offences for breaching emissions limits over the past year.
Smart Tracks and ‘Smog Jogs’: the Rapid Rise of Shanghai’s Running Clubs: To accommodate China’s soaring numbers of joggers and status associated with it, local governments such as Shanghai are adding kilometres of running tracks. Smart running tracks are emerging equipped with devices such as facial recognition, which can calculate a runner’s average speed over certain distances, plus heart rate monitors to gauge health levels. Yet studies have found that the negative effects of exercising in pollution will outweigh the benefits with health impacts beyond obvious risks like respiratory and cardiovascular problems.
NBA’s Dallas Mavericks Want a New Chinese Name: Much like campaigns from organisations such as Visit Britain, Dallas Mavericks is engaging Chinese consumers to help find the team a new Chinese name. For more than 20 years the Mavericks have been called xiaoniu in China, or “little cows,” which has nothing to do with the team. The Mavericks were the first NBA team to sign a Chinese player – Wang Zhizhi in 2001.
Alibaba Offers Glimpse of What’s to Come at 11.11 Festival: Alibaba has kicked off three weeks of pre-11.11 marketing, touting “new retail” experiences, “entertainment as retail” and new product offerings from around the world to be core themes for the festival. 140,000 brands, including 60,000 international brands, will offer promotions on 15 million products on 11.11 (Single’s Day) this year in addition to 700,000 physical retailers who will be involved.
Google is Hoping a Chinese-American Rapper Can Help it Break Back into China: Breaking its usual tradition of not using traditional advertising, Google released an ad touting Google Translate earlier this month targeted specifically at Chinese consumers. Translate was unblocked in March this year and is one of the few Google products accessible within the Great Firewall.
Chinese Tourists in NY and Vegas Can Now Pay for Taxi Fairs with Alipay: By the end of October, 2,100 taxis in Las Vegas will accept Alipay upon checkout, and an additional 14,000 taxis in New York City are slated to accept Alipay in November this year.
Chinese Speaking Staff Increasingly an Asset: New Zealand-based tourism retailer Aotea Gifts has half of its 150 staff as Mandarin speakers. “The story and the experience is often as important as the physical product itself,” says director Donald Hanson. Many Chinese visitors begin speaking English, but switch to Chinese when they really want to understand the product.
How Luxury Brands Can Unlock the Power of User-Generated Content: The most successful social media accounts in China integrate function and content, with UGC playing a big part in that. Successful UGC utilises the unique traits of WeChat and Weibo and makes complementary use where possible. UCG should be simple and visually-orientated.