This week’s China market and marketing news:
BrandZ Top-100 Most Valuable Global Brands 2020: China now has 17 brands in the global 100-most valuable brands according to the BrandZ index, with Alibaba and Tencent ranking sixth and seventh. Two of the five new entrants to the list were Chinese: TikTok and Bank of China. The world’s most valuable liquor company, Kweichow Moutai, was the fastest growing brand globally at 58% versus the average of 6%. Here’s the infographic.
Shanghai Gets Back to Business With Resumption of Major Trade Shows: The Shanghai New International Expo Centre’s website shows it held four exhibitions at the end of June, all on June 27-29, including Semicon China, a major semiconductor event. The site lists 14 events scheduled for July, including the China Digital Entertainment Expo & Conference, or ChinaJoy — the nation’s largest gamer show. The 23rd Shanghai International Film Festival, will take place later this month on dates still to be announced.
Xinhua Commentary: At 99, CPC Governance Legitimacy Shines Brighter in Time of Global Uncertainty: A recent survey by the Pew Research Center finds China tops the 2019 global rankings in terms of the levels of satisfaction with government performance. Over 86% of Chinese surveyed express satisfaction, far above the global average of 47%.
How COVID-19 Reshaped This Part of China’s Influencer Economy: The number of multi-channel networks (MCN) – agencies which manage KOL relationships with brands – are expected to double to 28,000 this year. As MCNs become more and more ubiquitous, the price tags for KOL services go up due to brands also needing to cover an agency fee. MCNs and KOLs usually do a 70/30 percent split. In late 2018 and 2019, many MCNs shifted their focus from simply endorsing products and brands to promoting their own branded products.
Update on Changes for Mandatory Animal-Testing of Beauty Products: The latest update of China’s CSAR (Cosmetic Supervision and Administration Regulation) has confirmed that there will be an avenue to general trade that does not involve testing on animals by January 2021, however exact details are still to be clarified.
China to Implement First Rules on Livestream Ecommerce in July: Rules have been implemented for livestreaming which restricts false and misleading advertising on livestreams and requires real-name registration from both merchants and individual livestreamers. From July 1, ecommerce livestreams have to give “comprehensive, truthful, and accurate” descriptions of the product and services without misleading exaggeration to guarantee the consumers’ right to know and to choose.
Avenue51 Ecommerce Platform Sees 245% Increase in Orders from Chinese Consumers for British Goods: Cross border ecommerce platform Avenue51 saw a 245% surge in orders for British goods from Mainland Chinese consumers in June, with the most popular categories being maternity, accessories, premium grocery and beauty. The platform is on track to increase sales by 650% in 2020.
Beyond Meat Makes Grocery Debut in China With Hema: Beyond Meat started stocking its flagship plant-based Beyond Burger in 50 Hema stores in Shanghai last weekend, following launches in Starbucks and Yum China (KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell) in April. The brand will later roll out the product more broadly, starting with select locations in Beijing and Hangzhou in September. Hema now has 207 stores in over 20 Chinese cities, and is experimenting with new store formats including farmers’ markets, breakfast take-out stands and even a shopping mall. About 40% of Hema’s products are imported from overseas.
Budweiser Slams Urine-Tainted Beer Rumour on Chinese Social Media: The American brewer has reported a rumour that one of its employees had been adding a special ingredient to its beer for years. Such material often comes from the country’s notorious yingxiaohao, or “marketing accounts” — content mills that generate income by using outlandish, shocking, or salacious headlines to attract traffic.
Chinese Designers: Beware of “Guochao Fatigue”: Chinese netizens coined the term “Guochao” to describe a rising group of local designers who were making Chinese nationalism trendy. Since then, almost every millennial-savvy brand has rushed to launch Guochao-inspired collabs in support of Chinese culture. But as China-proud narratives continue to flood the market, consumer fatigue has followed with more discerning millennials calling out brands that utilise it superficially, demanding action rather than empty patriotism. Across social media, videos mocking Guochao have been trending. Guochao has also been called out for its constant plagiarism, and some of the most renowned local brands like Warrior have repeatedly been accused of copying international designers.
More Chinese Students Want to Study in UK than US: Survey: 42% of Chinese students would choose the UK as the first country in which to study abroad, with 37% of students choosing the US. It is the first time the UK has overtaken the US as the top destination for Chinese students in the New Oriental Education survey. The recent tension between China and the US has affected the choices of Chinese students, while the UK reformed its visa policy and allowed overseas students to stay in the UK for two years after graduation. Just 3% of Chinese students currently enrolled at UK universities have cancelled their study plans according to a British Council survey in June. However, UK institutions are forecast to have nearly 14,000 less enrolments from East Asia in 2020-21 as a result of COVID-19.
Australia to Open Borders for One Group: International Students: Australia has confirmed it will allow international students back to study in Canberra from this month. Under a trial program that could be rolled out nationally, the universities and territory government will foot the bill for their two-week mandatory quarantine in hotels. Overseas students make up roughly a quarter of all enrolments in Australia – the second-highest ratio in the world after Luxembourg, yet Australia faces stiff competition from other destinations. The US, Canada and the UK have been proactive in rolling out their curricula in international schools in countries such as China – where such schools have ballooned to 500 from 150 six years ago – only 39 teach an Australian final year matriculation certificate. In a Global Times survey, more than 80% of respondents said they would “definitely or somewhat consider” bilateral relations when choosing their study and travel destinations. Nevertheless, Australia has a compelling advantage over global competitors: its success to date in containing the coronavirus.
Even at China’s Elite Colleges, Rural Kids Feel Like ‘Losers’: Around two-thirds of high school students from urban areas born in the ’90s went on to attend university, compared with just one-third of rural students, according to a study published in April. Yet urban privilege extends far beyond the discrepancy in gaokao scores. Even when rural students manage to gain access to top colleges, they often run into new, invisible barriers to success. According to a 2018 survey, fresh graduates from rural families earn ¥4,469 ($675) per month on average — ¥287 ($41) less than graduates from urban backgrounds.
Chinese TV cartoon characters censored for ‘dyed’ hair: Shining Star, the Chinese version of a South Korean cartoon series about three girls who form a pop band has been taken off air. The ban is reportedly due to “problematic” values, and because the main characters set a bad example for kids because they “dyed their hair bright colours,” “wore loud clothes,” and “did costume changes onstage.”