This week’s China market and marketing news:
China’s Economy Will Grow 2.5% This Year, UBS Says: China’s economy will grow 2.5% this year according to UBS, which raised its forecast from 1.5% due to the recovery in domestic consumption and strong investment. The economy will expand 5.5% this quarter from a year earlier, and 6% in the final three months of 2020. Oxford Economics also upgraded its full-year GDP forecast to 2.5% from 2% last week.
Be More Patriotic, China’s Xi Tells Companies as Govt Targets Economic Upturn: Chinese companies should be more patriotic as well as enhancing their ability to expand overseas, as the country strives to make up economic losses caused by the coronavirus epidemic, President Xi Jinping said in a meeting with senior business execs. In the face of rising protectionism, a slowing world economy and shrinking global demand, Beijing intends to fully take advantage of its huge domestic market. It will also press ahead with reforms in keeping with the historical trend of economic globalisation, and companies should understand international rules and fend off risks in international markets.
COVID-19 Won’t Deter APAC Consumers from Festive Shopping Plans: Shoppers in China are looking to spend big, with 35% of respondents intending to spend more than 40% of their monthly household income this shopping season, compared to only 7% of global consumers according to Rakuten. The research shows Taobao is the preferred shopping platform (77%) for Chinese shoppers, overtaking messaging app WeChat (65%). 53% are planning to change the way they shop to maximise value. Chinese consumers are most likely to increase spending when purchasing for their immediate family (46%) and decrease it on co-workers (51%). A UBS survey in May found 36% of Chinese consumers expected to increase spending in the next 12 months, down from 44% in the 2019 survey.
The China tightrope: 23 minute podcast: New Zealand’s biggest export market and one of its most important relationships is China, but the relationship is changing. Covid-19 and growing political tensions are affecting the relationship which sees NZ walking a tightrope and “becoming a bit of a more skilled acrobat … but there’s only so long you can kind of avoid being really direct and I think we are seeing that at the moment with Covid,” says Newsroom senior political reporter Laura Walters. Prime Minister Adern’s recent remarks on mutual relations were appreciated by China, that was before NZ suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong, which China called a ‘serious violation’ of international law.
WeChat’s Short Video Feature Channels Has Drawn 200 Million Users in Six Months, But Can It Take On Douyin?: Chinese people are now spending 16 more hours per month on their phones compared to a year ago, and short video apps have seen a surge while more traditional internet services by tech giants such as Baidu, WeChat, and Alibaba saw zero or slightly negative growth.
Kuaishou Livestream DAUs Reach 170 Million, 70% Growth Within Half Year: 70% of users who published on Kuaishou were under the age of 30. In the past 12-months, some 300 million content creators have published original content on the platform, with 29.8% of content published in the short-video format in the past 6-months. For the ecommerce function, the categories which saw the most substantial increase in vendors were apparel, local services, household products, automobiles and beauty and cosmetics.
WeChat, Douyin, Red, Which Platform to Pick for KOL Campaigns?: 87.7% of KOL followers on Red and 81.7% on Weibo are female. Douyin and WeChat are more balanced and just 30.7% are female on Kuaishou. Weibo and Red are the platforms with the youngest KOL followers (respectively 47.5% and 50.8% are younger than 30 years old). WeChat has the oldest user base, with just 25% of KOL followers younger than 30 years old, and 20% of users above 40 years old. Red and WeChat are ideal for reaching users living in larger cities. High profile KOLs have the highest conversion rate to ecommerce from Red and Weibo.
Meituan is Testing a Group Buying Feature for Food Deliveries: Leading delivery firm Meituan-Dianping is testing a new Pinduoduo-style group buying feature integrating social elements in its platform to boost user engagement for food delivery from restaurants. After five years of fast growth, China’s food delivery industry is losing steam as the market saturates. Transaction volume in the sector expanded at 30% year on year in 2019 – its slowest growth in four years.
China’s Millennials Drink More Milk to Boost Immune System: The government is pushing people to drink milk to get more protein, a vital ingredient in building the body’s immune system. Parents “should prepare enough milk and eggs every morning for your children…no congee should be allowed as breakfast,” said Zhang Wenhong, a doctor at the infectious diseases department at Shanghai’s Huashan Hospital and one of China’s most outspoken critics of the nation’s diet since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak.
Yili and Mengniu Milk Scandal Claim Goes Viral: An expose outlining to the six sins of China’s two biggest dairy companies has gone viral, further eroding trust in local milk.
China’s Quest for Fair Skin, From Zhuang Jiang to Ning Jing: Chinese preferences for fair skin are less about race than class. They’re also becoming more extreme. When Western cosmetic companies canned its skin whitening products as a result of the Black Lives Matter movement, reactions in China ranged from bewilderment to ridicule and even anger. Skepticism ran high across Weibo, WeChat, and other social media platforms as netizens asked: “What’s wrong with wanting lighter skin?” and “Are they going to start selling products that make you darker?” Aesthetic appreciations of fair skin in China can be traced back to the “Book of Songs,” the oldest extant collection of Chinese poetry, which dates from between the 11th and 6th centuries B.C. Middle-class Chinese are increasingly willing to pay significant sums for more drastic solutions, including whitening injections. These shots, which cost upward of ¥30,000 ($4,300) a year, can whiten a person’s natural skin tone by “two tones,” according to plastic surgeons.
Hunger Games: “For girls, being fat is a crime,” actress Shu Qi declared on TV in 2015. On Weibo, challenges such as the “A4 waist” exploded in 2016, inviting women to pose for selfies with a sheet of printer paper in front of their body, with the goal of proving that their waist is slim enough to be covered by the paper. Other versions of this challenge go viral each year, from the “4-centimetre wrist” to the “clavicle coin,” in which one balances a coin or another object on one’s collarbone.
Alibaba Cloud Helps Chinese Students, Foreign Schools Scale Great Firewall: Alibaba is seizing on a new business opportunity thrown up by the novel coronavirus: helping foreign universities skirt China’s stringent internet controls to keep classes going for their mainland Chinese students. The service allows students to access content from foreign universities stored in or streamed through the cloud without latency. It also offers a VPN-like experience when students browse the web for content relevant only to their studies. The Council of Australasian University Directors of Information Technology (CAUDIT) says 30 of its 47 affiliated universities use Alibaba Cloud. “The cost per month is quite high, but you’ve got to weigh that up against the impact on students,” says CAUDIT. Chinese students abroad totalled around 662,100 in 2018.
Chinese TV Appears To Be Sidelining the World’s Biggest Soccer League Amid a Fight With The UK Over Huawei: CCTV’s appears to be sidelining English Premier League soccer matches, in a symbolic move of what else could come following decisions around Hong Kong and Huawei.
China’s Food Delivery Boom May Undercut Plans to Reduce Plastic Bags: China will ban non-degradable plastic bags in supermarkets, shopping centres and flourishing food delivery services in its major cities from next year. At the same time, non-degradable, single-use plastic straws, plastic cotton buds, and foam plastic disposable dinnerware will no longer be allowed nationwide. In 2018, 12% of China’s 211 million tonnes of municipal solid waste was plastic. China’s ubiquitous express delivery industry consumed more than 9 million tonnes of packaging materials that year.