Mark Tanner
11 March 2020 0 Comments

This week’s China market and marketing news:

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Outbreak: Coronavirus

Case Studies: How Brands Are Incorporating Gaming Into China Marketing Strategies: The coronavirus has seen gaming users soar since late January, and astute brands from lipstick to luxury cars are using clever initiatives to reach China’s 600 million gamers.

Kerr Shan’s Video: Long Queues are Returning Despite the Coronavirus: 6 min video: Despite the coronavirus seeing many people avoid crowded public places, people are waiting in queues for over an hour for traditional seasonal food qingtuan.

China May Have ‘No New Coronavirus Cases’ Outside Hubei Epicentre by Mid-March: Analysis of the infections trend has seen daily infections in places other than Hubei almost drop to zero since late February. The analysis expects Chinese cities other than Wuhan to be basically free of new coronavirus patients by the middle of March. The hope is that Wuhan won’t have daily new cases by late March, with the main concerns now outside of China. In January and February, imports to China dropped just 4% – much lower than analysts predicted. Exports didn’t fare so well, falling 17.2%. Alibaba’s delivery arm – Cainiao, and Hema/Freshippo – have returned to full staffing.

China Inc Thinks Outside the Box as Coronavirus Keeps Consumers at Home: Chinese businesses are adding more vending machines selling everything from milk to sanitiser. Companies like Luckin Coffee are adding sanitiser to its suite of delivery products.

Unmanned Kiosks Provide Free Supplies for Unnamed Heroes: 2 min vid: The food delivery people, postmen, sanitation workers, and others who have kept cities going during the outbreak are often passed without getting a second glance. To acknowledge their work, eight department stores in Shanghai set up unmanned kiosks, providing free food, water and daily necessities for these unnamed heroes.

Consumers, Chinese Consumers

Lego Commits to China Expansion as Revenue Climbs: Last week, Lego announced that it will open 150 new stores this year, mostly in China, to meet the country’s growing demand for its toy bricks. Most Lego stores in China are open again following the virus.

With ‘Pink Yuan’ Ads, China Wakes Up to the World’s Biggest Gay Economy: China’s gay economy is worth $300 billion to $500 billion annually, reaching some 70 million people. An online Alibaba advert showing a man bringing his partner back to his family to celebrate the Lunar New Year went viral across China. This is part of a growing trend, largely led by technology firms targeting millennials aged 23 to 38 and gay and trans consumers, but the inclusivity also makes it memorable for others. The government often censors news, television shows and films that touch on LGBT+ issues in the name of “family values” while media companies self-censor. 2018’s Oscar-winning biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” had ten scenes scraped in China. Gay dating app Blued has succeeded in China because it brings together a minority community without activism.

Fewer in US Regard China Favourably or as Leading Economy: A new Gallup poll finds Americans’ favourable rating of China has declined further in the past year, sinking to a record-tying low only matched in 1997 and 2000. 33% of Americans currently have a favourable opinion of China, a 20-percentage-point decline since 2018 and an eight-point drop in the past year. For the first time in more than a decade, the majority of Americans polled regard the US – rather than China – as the world’s leading economic power. The poll was conducted at the height of the coronavirus outbreak, 3-16 February.

Online: Digital China

How Livestreaming Drives Retail and Ecommerce Success: 5 min video: Livestreaming creates a live, interactive, mobile and social shopping experience. 4,000 livestream hosts are just on Taobao, generating 150,000 hours of content and selling over 600,000 products on a daily basis. The audience for live-streaming apps has jumped 35% since the outbreak.

These Chinese Companies Use English Brands and Domains Only: There is a misconception that corporate China only buys pinyin domains, whereas many use English domains and branding such as large startups Keep, VIPKid and Fiture.

Premium Food & Beverage

Carrefour China Achieves its First Quarterly Profit in Seven Years: Carrefour China has improved its operating efficiency through the digital transformation of its stores and the accelerated integration with the Suning ecosystem. Since Suning acquired Carrefour, its management team has focused on consumer needs and strengthening marketing, operations and membership management. The business was integrated into the Suning FMCG’s supply chain, strengthening the range and supply of merchandise. This digital transformation has seen the 209-strong store network deliver goods to customers living within 3km of a store within one hour, and for those within 10km of a store within half a day.

New Freshippo (Hema) Store Formats Cater to Different Consumer Needs: While the original supermarket concept remains at the heart of most Freshippo (Hema) locations, the chain has introduced new shopping experiences including everything from convenience stores and breakfast pick-up stations, to a shopping mall. Five new formats were launched last year.

Sugar Reduction in Teas Taking Over Cheese Teas: Healthy, low-calorie and low-sugar are trending for new-style tea drinks. Over the past 10 months, 50% of consumers have chosen less or no sugar when purchasing tea according to tea brand Nayuki. Sales of sugar-free tea was higher than the brand’s popular cheese tea over the past 10 months.

Staying Health

Majority of Over 50,000 Recovered COVID-19 Patients in China Receive TCM Treatment: Official: Compared with those only treated with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) or Western medicine, an expert team confirmed that the integrated treatment of TCM and Western medicine can more quickly improve the symptoms. 92.5% coronavirus patients treated in China have received TCM treatment.

Overall Beauty

L’Oreal Sales Revenue Hits 15-Year High: L’Oreal saw sales revenue of its Chinese business swell by 35% in 2019. The company has been negatively impacted by the coronavirus, although it expects the rebound will be noticeable once the outbreak ends. Beauty companies are getting creative in dealing with the outbreak, with a series of livestreaming sessions on how to create beauty while wearing surgical masks attracting 8.2 million viewers on Taobao Live, leading to a 150% month-over-month sales increase of eyeshadow palettes. Since the outbreak, Alibaba’s beauty category sales have dropped by 30% year-on-year, yet beauty brand advertising has only decreased by 14% with brands continuing to deliver evolving marketing campaigns.

Schooling and Education

Australian Universities Let Chinese Students Get Around a Travel Ban. Critics Warn it Could Spread the Coronavirus: To circumvent Australia’s ban on arrivals who have been in mainland China within the previous 14 days, some students travelled to a third country for two weeks in self-quarantine before entering Australia. In some cases, universities have provided financial assistance for students to make those trips. Western Sydney University offered students A$1,500 ($993) to offset expenses if they transit, with the University of Melbourne offering grants of up to A$7,500 ($4,950). ANU said all affected students would be able to seek A$5,000 ($3,300) for costs incurred due to the travel ban if they remain enrolled after 3 June. The University of Sydney had made online supported learning for 800 courses and deferred the start of the semester for a small number of courses at business school. Around 14,000 of its students from China remain overseas.