This week’s news and trends in China:
Refreshed and Updated City Tier Calculator and City-Nator: Compare Chinese cities by tiers, check out their populations, GDPs, rankings and even number of Starbucks cafes with the City Tier Calculator using the most recent data and classifications. The City-Nator provides an interesting perspective into the scale of Chinese cities relative to your own hometown or other big cities around the world.
Tech-Oriented Cities in Southeast China Lead the country in growth potential: Hangzhou topped the Economist Intelligence Unit ranking of Chinese cities with the greatest economic growth potential in the next few years. All of the cities in the top 10 are in eastern and southern China, except for sixth-ranking Beijing, coming in after Hangzhou, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Zhuhai. Suzhou, Hefei, Nanjing and Ningbo rounded out the top-10. Shanghai remains China’s top-ranked consumer market, owing to its large retail sector and high concentration of wealth. Chongqing also ranks highly due to strong retail sales and tourism revenue growth, and a high ratio of young consumers.
Should You Localise Your Product for the Chinese Market?: Many brands’ main selling point in the Chinese market is their sense of foreignness, and so product strategies in which foreign elements are replaced with more familiar features often end up eliminating the very thing that customers appreciated about the product. While a localisation strategy can be effective in some cases, it’s critical to carefully consider which components of the business will benefit most from localisation — whether that’s a specific product feature, a customer service policy, or even a sales structure — and which would be more marketable and/or cost-effective to leave as a global standard.
Most Chinese College Graduates Expect to Earn USD155,000 a Year Within 10 Years, Survey Shows: As the first batch of Generation Z-ers, or those born after the year 2000, start to enter the job market in China, 67% are optimistic that they will be able to command a yearly salary of ¥1 million ($155,000) within a decade of graduating according to a recent survey. Tech firms ByteDance, Alibaba Holdings and JD.com are the three most sought-after companies to work for, with 64% wanting to work in the tech sector. 42% want to work in the recreation sector and 40% in education.
JD.com’s First Brick-and-Mortar Mall Set to Open in Xi’an: 200,000 items across an area of over 40,000 sq. metres opens in Xi’an on 30 September. Tenants range from electronics companies like Huawei Technologies and Haier to restaurants and home goods stores. The mall will include beauty and health shops with interactive components as well as virtual reality experiences. By offering an immersive experience, JD.com hopes to promote products in a way that is difficult to convey through a screen and woo customers to its online platform as well.
Chinese Podcaster Ximalaya Files for Hong Kong IPO After Ditching US Listing Plan: Ximalaya, China’s biggest podcasting platform, plans to file for an initial public offering (IPO) in Hong Kong. Founded in 2012, Ximalaya had 262 million active monthly users in the first half of this year. The average number of monthly active paying users on mobile terminals reached 14.2 million in the period, up 66% from a year ago.
Apple’s Initial iPhone 13 Pre-Orders in China Surpass Last Year’s as Market Offers Fewer Premium Handsets Amid Huawei’s Decline: More than two million preorders for the new iPhone 13 had been placed on Apple’s official store on JD.com as of last Thursday, surpassing the 1.5 million iPhone 12 pre-orders on the same platform in 2020. The enthusiasm saw Apple’s official website crash.
Antiracism Push Prompts Rethink of Asia’s ‘Beautiful White’ Creams: Unilever to relabel skin-care products to avoid implying fairer is better, but J&J and L’Oréal are keeping references to ‘white’ in Asia. Japan’s Kosé, with brands like Jill Stuart and high-end Decorté, replaced the word “whitening” with “brightening” on products sold in the US and Europe, but not in Asia. Shiseido similarly said it plans to stop using “white” in the West but not in Asia.
Investors Bet China’s Cosmetic Surgery Industry is Next on Regulators’ Hit List: China’s aesthetic medicine market could suffer a heavy blow if Beijing concludes that the sector’s negative social influence is on a par with private tutoring and online gaming. State media have stepped up criticism of the industry for promoting the idolisation of physical appearances and piling further misery on young people already self-conscious about their looks. In related news, more men are going under the knife to boost their chances in life, with 17% of white-collar workers having had cosmetic treatments.
Chinese Travellers Still See US as Most Unsafe for Travel: Chinese travellers back in March showed pent up desire to get back to exploring the US in spite of strained relations between the two countries and a perception of America as unsafe from a pandemic perspective. Six months later, 87% of Chinese consumers still rank the US as the most unsafe country to visit among a list of top 13 destinations. Japan, UK and Canada dropped in ranking for safety. Singapore and Hong Kong are seen as among the safest.
China’s Elite Snowboarders Herald New Wave of Olympians: As elite snowboarder Liu Jiayu trains for the 2022 Winter Olympics, it’s not just her platinum blond-streaked ponytail that stands out – she also has a colourful, personal and public social media presence, a relative rarity for Chinese athletes.
China’s COVID-19 Driven Surfing Boom: Chinese young people are discovering surfing in increasing numbers, thanks in part to restrictions on foreign travel in the wake of the pandemic.
What China’s Changing ‘996’ Culture Means For Luxury: In response to high living costs and lack of upward mobility, Chinese youth have become increasingly vocal about rejecting societal pressures to work hard and compete, choosing to “lie flat” instead. Brands shouldn’t directly reference the “lying flat” movement, especially as state media outlets regard it as “shameful,” and the term is banned on some digital platforms.
Surging EV Sales Put China Ahead of Government Targets: Chinese consumers bought 1.79 million electric vehicles over the first eight months of 2021, up 194% from the same period last year. This expansion compares with 14% growth for overall auto sales. Last month, electrics made up 14.4% of sales. China officially has 479 EV companies. Of those, 70 were established over the past two years. Elon Musk has praised the growth potential of the Chinese market and emphasized the innovation of Chinese EV manufacturers.