This week’s news and trends in China:
China’s Population, Demographics and Facts: Charts and graphs showing the high level numbers from China’s 2020 census results.
Aging of Beijing, Shanghai Populations More Serious than National Average: Beijingers aged 60 or above stands at 4.29 million, or 19.6% of the total, versus the national average of 18.7%. Shanghai is even greyer with 5.82 million aged over 60, or 23.4%, 4.68 percentage points higher than the national average. Shenzhen and Guangzhou are much younger by comparison, with 5.36% and 11.41% over 60 respectively.
Average Annual Wages in China’s Cities Jumped 7.7% Last Year to $8,965 USD: The average gross annual salary of China’s urban employees in the private sector rose 7.7% last year from the previous year to ¥57,727 ($8,965). Those in the non-private sector grew 7.6% to a mean of ¥97,379 ($15,123). Workers in the tech and finance sector earned the most, whereas those employed in the transportation, catering, hotel and tourism industries experienced a drop in earnings due to the adverse effect of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Survey: Chinese Consumer Sentiment During the Coronavirus Crisis: Around 60% of Chinese consumers are optimistic about an economic recovery post-COVID-19; Half of consumers expect to spend extra in 2021 to reward themselves; 64% have made changes in their work or study locations; and 84% of consumers have changed stores, brands or the way they shop according to a McKinsey survey.
China’s “Involuted” Generation: A new word has entered the popular lexicon to describe feelings of burnout, ennui, and despair. Involution is “the experience of being locked in competition that one ultimately knows is meaningless.” The concept gathered momentum in China’s elite universities last spring when students felt anxious, stressed, overworked, and trapped in a status race. It is an ideal that leads college students to work inhumane hours and drives young migrant workers to hustle in the gig economy, with promises that it will propel China into a future of wealth and ease.
Cross-Border Ecommerce Overperforming: A study from the Amazon Global Store and Baidu found searches related to “cross-border e-commerce” in 2020 jumped 20% from 2019. Nearly one-third of Amazon Global Store users in China are from first-tier cities, led by Beijing, then Shanghai. 32% of users who buy overseas goods are from fourth-tier cities in 2020, up from 28% in 2019. 41% of Chinese cross-border online shoppers were born in the 1990s, and more than 11% in the 2000s. Those aged around 25 mainly shop to satisfy their interest, preferring trendy items such as game consoles, sneakers and snacks, while those around 30 shop for necessities like coffee makers, razors and appliances.
Chicecream is Very Expensive Chinese Ice Cream and the Startup Behind it Just Bagged $30 Million in Series A Funding: Chicecream (Zhong Xue Gao) – “authentic” Chinese ice cream – became the most searched item on China’s Little Red Book in 2019. Promoting itself as low sugar and low fat at a time when young Chinese are becoming more health conscious, its ice cream is priced at three to four times the average ice cream bar.
Protein, Traditional Flavours Driving Yoghurt in China: Prices of new yoghurt flavours have increased sharply over the past year with the arrival of fancier flavours. One of the latest launches is avocado yoghurt with oat flakes. High protein yoghurt has also been popular in the premium space. Traditionally linked with health, black yoghurt is increasingly common, with ingredients like chives, garlic, shrimp and rice vinegar.
True Italian Taste at the Masterclass Guangzhou 2021: The China-Italy Chamber of Commerce held a masterclass ‘True Italian Taste.’ The event was opened to experts in the F&B sector, media, influencers, journalists, KOLs, bloggers, nutritionists and Italian food buyers. It was aimed to value authentic Italian food by introducing their quality to the audience; increase the perception of Chinese consumers on authentic Italian products and enhance the visibility of Italian companies in the F&B field in China.
Pepsi’s Peachy Tune With Li Xian Takes Off On Weibo: Pepsi jumped onto China’s recent Peach Oolong flavour train and launched its own ‘White Peach Oolong Flavour Cola’ exclusively for the Chinese market. With an eye-catching video that featured two popular celebrities and a carefully curated Weibo campaign, Pepsi appealed to classical Chinese cultural themes.
Milk Powder Pushers Persuading Rural Mothers Not to Breastfeed: A program from the Lianci foundation in China has been accused of spreading incorrect information and containing brand and product marketing, promoting milk powder as being more nutritious than breast milk. Grassroots health care workers receive money for every tub they help distribute, creating a potential conflict of interest. [paywall]
International Travel from China to be back to pre-Covid Levels by 2023: China has already opened its borders to 36 European and 13 Asian countries. A total of 105 airlines including 19 Chinese carriers, are now flying to 55 different countries, culminating in 294 round trip flights per week. China is due to reach its pre-Covid outbound travel levels in 2023, when traffic is forecast to reach 88 million following 108% growth in 2022 and a further 44% in 2023.
NetEase-Sony Deal Is Newest Blow to Tencent’s Grip on Music: NetEase has struck a deal to license music directly from Sony Music Entertainment for the first time, ending Tencent’s exclusive deal with Sony for Chinese music streaming. It follows similar arrangements between Universal Music Group and the two Chinese platforms unveiled in August last year and aligns with Beijing’s antimonopoly drive.
Chinese Automaker Chang’an Ford Apologizes for Raunchy Ad: Chang’an Ford has apologised for a video on social media that many critics say objectifies women. The now-deleted video, meant to show off the acceleration of a new model, features a young woman in a white dress struggling to hold down her skirt as the car zooms past. Chanel is also under fire in China after it continued to work with long-term partner Michel Gaubert who apologised for a video he posted showcasing racist masks with guests screaming “Wuhan girls, wahoo.”
China’s Data Privacy Crackdown: What Luxury Marketers Needs to Know: China’s upcoming Personal Information Protection Law will restrict brands’ ability to use data to market to Chinese consumers. The law stipulates that Chinese consumers should give informed consent before personal information is collected, should be informed of why it is collected and how it is used, and be entitled to rescind consent at any stage.