This week’s news and trends in China:
How Chinese Retailers Are Reinventing the Customer Journey: Western retailers lag their Chinese counterparts in leveraging customer data to make better business decisions, increase operational efficiency, and reduce costs. They need to integrate that data with off-line businesses so that customers are visible, identifiable, and traceable both online and off-line. Retailers need to establish contact with customers online through multiple touch points, including social media ecosystems, to increase their stickiness, loyalty, and activity.
China’s Hottest New Rental Service: Men Who Actually Listen: Chinese women are fed up with dating self-absorbed men. Now, “butler cafés” are offering them more attentive male company — for a fee.
China Doubles Reward for Consumer Fraud Whistleblowers To Up To $155,000: The Chinese government will offer rewards of up to 1 million yuan ($155,000) for reports of safety problems or misconduct involving consumer products, double the current ceiling, to encourage employees and the public to blow the whistle on corporate wrongdoing. The China Consumers Association reports that related organisations received more than 980,000 claims last year – up by half from five years earlier – with appliances, daily necessities and food among the leading categories.
How Chinese Consumers Shop Online – Cross-Border Commerce: A high level explanation of how cross border ecommerce works in China, including how bonded warehouses make delivery speedy and shoppers can ask livestream hosts to show items of interest live from the country of origin. There are 29,000 foreign brands on Tmall Global alone, with mum & baby and beauty products the most popular.
Walmart Rethinks Its China ‘Hypermarket’ Strategy Amid Alibaba Gains: Sales in China’s supermarket and hypermarket sector fell more than 7% in the second quarter of 2021 compared to a year ago, as more Chinese shoppers shift online. In contrast, the membership-based sector is rapidly growing in popularity as consumers seek out imported goods such as Australian steaks and Belgian chocolates at lower prices. Sam’s Club’s strong growth has seen it plan to have 100 stores in China by 2028 from its current 33.
Dairy Deep Dive: Yili talks About Rankings and Plans: Yili uses tech and tools to listen to customer needs and develop products like its carrot-flavoured NOC (Nature of Cheerfulness) ice cream, which included a marketing strategy for ‘soft crust.’ Cheese and low-temperature milk have been among Yili’s fastest growing categories.
Surging Chinese Fish Prices Stir Up Food Supplies: Chinese consumers are having a hard time stomaching a nearly 50% jump in fish prices from a year ago, which mark the latest shake-up to the country’s vast food sector following a deadly hog disease outbreak that saw pork prices triple in 2019. Fish had previously been among the cheapest sources of protein in China, but is now more expensive than chicken and recently also higher than the staple pork. A widespread environmental clean-up drive has led China to restrict fish farming along major waterways in recent years, leading to a drop in the number of fish farms.
Why Mid-Autumn Festival Is China’s Fashion-Food Moment: Collaborations like Supreme x Skittles, Fila x Starbucks, Innisfree x Glico, or Dove x McCafé have diversified fashion and beauty players’ product portfolios and driven social media buzz. With brands increasingly tying in Chinese cultural elements, mooncakes for next week’s Mid-Autumn Festival are the next big collab theme.
China’s Covid-Hit Travel Market Shows Signs of Recovery as Mid-Autumn Festival Bookings Surge: Interprovincial tour bookings made on Ctrip increased by 365%, while more niche private group tours grew by 550% between Aug 23 – Sep 6. But most travellers will be shunning long-distance trips for holidays closer to home, as the threat of Covid-related cancellations still lingers. Online travel agency LY.com estimates 800 million domestic travellers will hit the road during the Mid-Autumn Festival holiday.
China’s First Universal Studios Theme Park Opens this Month in Beijing. Here’s a Sneak Peek: The ¥50 billion ($7.7 billion) Universal Studios Beijing Resort will bring a little more of Hollywood to the mainland when it officially opens next week, following several pandemic-related delays. It has many of the popular attractions found at its counterparts in Singapore, Osaka, Los Angeles and Orlando. But there are some Universal firsts as well, including the Kung Fu Panda Land of Awesomeness. In the pre-opening trial, among the most popular attractions were the scream-inducing Decepticoaster inside the Transformers area, and all the Harry Potter rides.
Chinese Parents Fear Children’s English Skills Will Suffer as Schools Cut Back on Language Classes and Tutors Face Crackdown: Reforms designed to reduce the burden on pupils have worried parents who fear they will reduce their ability to communicate with the outside world. The reforms were intended to lighten students’ workloads and allow them to develop their sporting and artistic skills and, although they did not explicitly target English, the subject seems to be hit the hardest.
China Accuses Canada Goose of ‘Misleading’ Consumers in Ads: Canada Goose has been fined ¥450,000 ($71,000) for deceiving customers with claims of “the warmest material from Hutterite [communities],” as most of its products are actually made with other material.
A Cut Above: In Conversation With Hawkins & Brimble’s CEO on the Male Grooming Brand’s China Strategy: Brimble launched in China a year ago, and the country already accounts for 25% of sales as Chinese men strive for “British gentlemen associations.” The company once had to fly a jumbo jet full of product to China on short notice to ensure products stayed on shelves.
Hong Kong’s Global Watch Dominance Comes to an End: Hong Kong was once considered “El Dorado,” for Swiss watch exports. It was the top destination for over a decade, however industry experts doubt the city will ever regain the No. 1 spot. Much of the growth has come from Mainland China where many watch makers are seeing triple-digit growth over pre-pandemic levels, with Hainan’s duty free status helping drive sales.