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China News This Week: Wednesday 18 August 2021

This week’s news and trends in China:

Consumers,  Chinese Consumers

From ‘Positive Energy’ to ‘Chaos’: How China’s Online Fan Clubs Became a Target of Beijing’s Crackdown: Online fan circles, or informal cult-like communities centred around an idol, are likely to see restrictions from China’s internet watchdog. The communities have been criticised for the pressure to stay in the fan clubs and continue to invest effort and money into them to build a sense of identity from other fans.

As Tattoo Art Flourishes, Will China’s Censors Tighten their Grip?: Tattoos are mainstream in urban China now, despite a government that views them as markers of undesirable subcultures and censors them on TV. What does the future of the Chinese tattoo industry hold?

China Anti-Graft Watchdog Calls for Business Drinking Curbs: China should reduce business drinking and replace it with “correct values,” the Chinese Communist Party’s anti-corruption watchdog said in commentary on a sexual assault case involving employees with Alibaba Group. Alcohol-related stocks have dropped as a result.

Online: Digital China

Bilibili’s Daily Active Users Exceeds 65 Million, Surpassing Youku to Become the Third Largest Long Video Platform in China: Active monthly users on Bilibili have increased 30% over the past 12 months to 223 million. 60% of registered users from 2009 were still active ten years later. Users spend an average of more than 80 minutes per day on the platform.

How China’s Elderly Built an Internet of Their Own: According to data from last year’s census, China is home to 260 million people aged 60 and over. Of these, just 110 million described themselves as “online” and use apps differently than younger consumers.

Founder Lei Jun Says Xiaomi Wants to be the World’s Top Smartphone Maker in Three Years’ Time: A decade since launching its first smartphone, Xiaomi recently surpassed Apple to become the world’s No. 2 mobile brand behind Samsung Electronics. The company refocused from value-for-money to high-end smartphones three years ago, officially launching the Xiaomi 10 in February 2020. Xiaomi accounted for 17% of the global market in Q2, just behind Samsung at 19%.

Premium Food & Beverage

‘Blue is the New Green’ for Young Chinese Consumers: People have traditionally turned away from the blue as no natural food is coloured that way and it is often associated with poison or products that are harmful to health. But that may no longer be the case as blue-coloured food products are becoming increasingly popular with young Chinese consumers.

“Brand Formation is Key to the Rise of High-Quality Domestic Fruit in the Chinese Market”: Imported fruit supply chains are often interrupted with Covid, and consumers are less confident about their safety. As a result, some Chinese consumers are turning their attention to premium domestic fruit, with some premium Chinese fruit costing more than imported fruit.

‘Huge China Dairy Potential’: Yili Predicts Rising Demand for Value-Added and Sustainable Products: As consumers become increasingly health-conscious, they are expecting to see more value-added dairy products too. This isn’t limited to just nutritional value-adds, but also products that are technologically advanced and can provide cool stories to share in social discussions. Yili’s award-winning examples include Cute Star Rub Your Tummy Dietary Fibre Yoghurt Drink, TOORan Black Milk Powder and the SATINE x Palace Museum Product Special Edition.

Overall Beauty

Female Chinese Athletes Applauded for ‘Correcting’ Beauty Standards: Women from Team China were both winning medals and challenging the stereotypical appearance traditionally associated with their gender, supported by hundreds of millions on social media.

Regulatory Headwinds Take Luster Off Beauty Industry Stocks: China’s booming “medical beauty” industry faces twin regulatory headwinds – one focused on medical risks and the other financial practices, such as lending cash to people who undergo procedures, and bundling those loans into asset-backed securities traded on Chinese exchanges.

Schooling and Education

China Kills Almost 300 Partnerships with Elite Foreign Universities in Places like New York, London and Hong Kong, After Private Tutoring Ban: China routinely assesses and cancels foreign educational partnerships that fail to meet its regulatory standards. The latest round of cancellations comes less than a month after a crackdown on the country’s private tutoring industry to try and curb a culture of excessive studying among China’s youth.

Premium and Luxury

How Millionaires Define Luxury in 2021: 63% of Chinese millionaires are optimistic about their financial future, as they expect an increase in disposable income. 8% expect income to decrease. The Agility study concluded a “more complex and diverse definition of luxury among Chinese millionaires” – it has added new notions about what luxury means such as freedom, enjoyment and health. 88% care about brands being ethically responsible.

China Luxury Resale Report Shows Louis Vuitton, Gucci Lead Searches: Chinese consumers are most enthusiastic about mega brands such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Chanel, Christian Dior and Hermès for second hand purchases according to Plum. Users show a strong interest in second-hand luxury bags, jewellery, watches and clothing. In each category, classic styles and products with iconic signatures are preferred.