This week’s China market and marketing news:
Chinese Economy to Overtake US ‘By 2028’ Due to Covid: After a strong post-pandemic rebound in 2021, the US economy is expected to grow by about 1.9% annually from 2022-24 and then slow to 1.6% in the years after that. By contrast the Chinese economy is tipped to grow by 5.7% annually until 2025, and 4.5% annually from 2026-2030 according to CEBR.
China’s Real Threat Is to America’s Ruling Ideology: While China is not blameless, one could reasonably make the argument that, from an international perspective, it has had easily the most peaceful rise to great power status of any nation of the last several hundred years. An interesting, and less-published view of the threat from China.
The Top 10 Buzzwords in Chinese Online Media in 2020: Every year, the most popular new words and expressions are listed by the Chinese magazine 咬文嚼字 (yǎo wén jiáo zì). In 2020 they were: 1. People first; 2. People going against the tide; 3. Spirited; 4. Rear waves; 5. Divine beasts; 6. Live commerce; 7. Dual cycle; 8. Working people; 9. Involution; and 10. Versailles Literature.
International Brands in a Frenzy of Launching Limited Version to Celebrate Chinese New Year: It’s started again, with special edition Year-of-the-Ox-brandished products already selling well from brands like Apple, Moncler, Longchamp, Vans and Swatch.
Chinese Web Firms are ‘Bullying’ Customers with Data and Algorithms, says Country’s Consumer Watchdog: Companies must stop using systems to scan through consumer personal data and offer them different prices for goods, says China’s consumer watchdog. The watchdog says recommended products and services on online platforms should be ‘comprehensive and objective’ allowing consumers to make informed choices.
China Fines JD.Com, Alibaba’s Tmall, Vipshop for Irregular Pricing: JD.Com, Alibaba’s Tmall and Vipshop have each been fined ¥500,000 ($76,657) following consumer complaints over the companies’ pricing strategies related to Nov. 11 shopping events. China stepped up regulations on internet giants in December.
Ant Conducting ‘Self-Review’ After $35 Billion IPO Collapses: Ant’s chairman Eric Jing noted the company is “looking into the mirror, finding out our shortcomings, and conducting a body check-up,” in December. Meanwhile, there is increasing scrutiny that Jack Ma hasn’t been seen publicly since his now-infamous rebuke against “pawn shop” Chinese lenders and regulators he said don’t understand the internet a couple of months earlier.
China’s Community Group Grocery Buying Surges as Vast Market Size Offers Economies of scale: In China’s community group buying model, a designated community leader usually creates a WeChat group that coordinates food orders on behalf of others. Community group buying reduces last-mile delivery costs compared with individual orders at e-commerce grocery chain supermarkets yet grocery suppliers are moving to restrict partner wholesalers from taking orders from community group-buying (CGB) entities.
China Reaffirms Goal to Bolster Food Security as Imports Swell: China has vowed to expand domestic crop production and strengthened its plan to ensuring grain and food security after imports surged to unprecedented levels. Food security will be a priority under China’s 14th Five Year Plan and includes improving crop yields of locally-grown rice, wheat, soybeans and corn while protecting against farmland loss. The country has signalled more support for Genetically Modified crops to bolster security.
China’s Major Fast-Food China Dicos Replaces Eggs with Vegan JUST Egg: JUST Egg is now featured as part of three breakfast burgers, three bagel sandwiches, and a “Western” breakfast plate at 500 Dicos locations in China. Dicos’ replacement of chicken eggs with the mung bean-based vegan egg marks the first time a major fast-food restaurant has swapped an animal-based product with a plant-based one across multiple regular menu offerings.
Infographic: China’s 500-Million-Strong Online Pet Economy: Pets were denounced as bourgeois vanity by Chairman Mao which saw China late to the game of keeping pets as companions. But this has changed in recent years, driven by political, economic, societal and technological drivers, and accelerated by Covid. Now more than 500 million pet lovers embrace them online.
Lego Bets on China’s Children With Hundreds of New Stores: Over the two years ending in December 2021, Lego plans to more than double the number of stores it has in China, to 300 in 85 cities. It is also aggressively expanding online. In three years, the Merlin Entertainments will open Legoland in Sichuan province, adding another leg to Lego’s strategy in China. With more than two-thirds of the world’s 2 billion children expected to be living in East Asia by 2032, the company says it must be physically present in the region. Meanwhile, Tencent-backed Chinese budget retailer Miniso last month launched Toptoy, a chain store for toys.
With DNA Tests for $3, Chinese Startup Genebox Raises Tens of Millions: If you give Genebox a tube of spit and as little as $3, the company promises to tell you the best strategy for you to lose weight and care for your skin, your risks of developing diabetes or cancer, and who your ancestors are. The Beijing-based startup is one of the over 100 companies in China’s direct-to-consumer DNA test industry, which is expected to see $405 million in sales by 2022.
China’s Coronavirus Rollout Plan Revealed as Authorities Aim to Vaccinate 50 Million Before Lunar New Year: Vaccinations against COVID-19 are underway in at least 75 Chinese cities for 50 million residents before mid-February. The vaccine — first approved in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain in December — is reported by Sinopharm to be 79.34% effective. Currently, only workers in nine sectors, including logistics, food delivery, customs, transportation, healthcare and public security are being prioritised for vaccination, as they are more likely to be exposed to the virus through their work. More than 4.5 million people had received the vaccine before the rollout. China has capacity to produce 1 billion doses of Sinopharm’s vaccine this year.