Mark Tanner
23 November 2021 0 Comments

This week’s news and trends in China:

Consumers,  Chinese Consumers

Global Wealth Surges as China Overtakes US to Grab Top Spot: Global wealth tripled over the last two decades, with China accounting for almost one-third of the growth, overtaking the US for the top spot worldwide according to McKinsey. China’s wealth skyrocketed to $120 trillion from a mere $7 trillion in 2000.

China Condemns ‘Money Worship’, Corruption of Reform Era in Key Document: China’s ruling Communist Party slammed the “money worship”, “extreme individualism” and corruption that emerged in the four decades since the country opened up, calling for stronger party leadership and moral discipline in a key resolution released on Tuesday.

China’s Retail Sales Beat Forecasts in October, Despite Property Market Slump: October retail sales grew by 4.9% from a year ago, beating a Reuters’ poll forecasting 3.5% growth and up on the 4.4% rise in September. Fixed asset investment in the first 10 months of 2021 rose by 6.1% from a year ago.

Online: Digital China

China to Rein In Internet Firms for Risks on the Rising Community Group Buying Business: The State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) has announced it will take a series of measures to prevent internet tycoons from monopolizing grassroots community markets in the name of online community group buying. The huge community buying trend will be investigated and punished if they ‘conduct illegal violations like dumping’. On the other hand, China will perfect its management system for online platforms by pushing the amendment of the anti-monopoly law and detailing relevant regulations.

China’s Walled Garden is Not Yet Down, the Tunnel Warfare Goes On and On: On the surface, there appears to have been much progress for interconnectivity between China’s apps, but in reality walled gardens still persist. On October 28, Alibaba announced that it had begun testing a new function for its e-commerce app Taobao — letting users share their Taobao shopping carts directly to WeChat with just one click. Alibaba anticipated the feature to be officially made available by October 27th, two weeks before Double 11. The function never came online. Similarly, a rant from a developer from Taobao’s group buying grocery app went viral after WeChat has refused to approve its mini program updates for seven months.

Premium Food & Beverage

China Food Security: Beijing Signals Overhaul of GM Crop Rules in Push for Seed Industry Breakthrough: The Ministry of Agriculture has proposed a series of regulatory changes to enhance competitiveness of China’s seed industry and heightened food security concerns. Concerns about food supply have heightened over the past 18 months amid coronavirus disruptions and rivalry with the US.

White Paper on Snack Food Category in O2O Consumption: Offline sales of snacks account for 64% of sales, with online sales at 18% of the market, leaving o2o as a large area for growth. About 72% of consumers want to purchase snacks as soon as they see them. In related news, spicy snack maker, Weilong Delicious, has filed for a HK IPO, with the company expected to be worth $10 billion.

SA Wines Get Boost from Dispute Between Australia and China: Australia’s Chinese market share fell from more than 40% in 2020 to 5% in 2021, whereas France picked up most of the drop growing from 25% to 45% in the year. Chile now dominates among new world wines, gaining about 7% year on year. South Africa was the fastest growing region at 124%, accounting for 2% of the market.

Startup Mixing Skin Care with Beverages Grabs Investor Attention: Meiji Yinpin, a beverage and beauty brand founded in 2020 that offers tea-based drinks, just received ¥10 million ($1.5 million) funding. The company claims its beverages offer health and cosmetic benefits to women, with offerings including Hyaluronic Acid Jasmine Fruit Water, Jasmine Collagen Coconut Milk, and Peach Collagen Coconut Milk.

Overall Beauty

Tapping Into the Explosive Growth of Personalized Beauty in China: Consumers’ shift to a rational, healthy, and eco-friendly lifestyle and strong sense of self-expression are changing the beauty product landscape. For personalised beauty, Skinsei’s quizzes consumers about holistic lifestyle factors to provide a customised beauty experience.

Overseas Chinese Tourists

Asia’s Hungry Travel Sector Is Missing a Key Ingredient: China: China accounted for nearly 40% of the 240 million tourist arrivals across Asia in 2019. China is looking likely to stick with a Covid Zero strategy and patrol its borders tightly until at least the Winter Olympics in February 2022. Chinese tourists are unlikely to travel abroad while the mandatory quarantine (up to 3-weeks at present) and paper work persists.

Video & Entertainment

House of Screams: Inside China’s Hidden Horror Trade: Du “Mr. Mask” Xifan is making a killing by feeding China’s growing fascination with ghouls, gremlins, and gore. Chinese media regulators impose a number of restrictions on horror content and the mainland film industry has produced few hit horror flicks, but the genre still has a big following in the country. The Hollywood-made “Saw” franchise and Japanese cult classic “Ring” are particularly popular. Escape rooms, haunted houses, and murder mystery-style role-playing games — known locally as “script murder” are also fast-growing in China. But China is getting stricter on the $2.6 billion role-playing murder mystery games industry, with Shanghai planning to ban content that is likely obscene, violent, or have crime-related plots. An outbound tourism opportunity when things open up?

Chinese sport Sport

China Hails Country’s First Formula One Driver, Zhou Guanyu: Shanghainese 22-year old Zhou Guanyu has become China’s first-ever full time driver to compete in F1, signing with Alfa Romeo for the 2022 season. Despite the annual race in Shanghai and promotional efforts by the organization, F1 never managed to make a big splash in the country, but having a Chinese driver is likely to improve the sport’s fortunes.

Designers and Fashion

Chinese Fashion Brand Peacebird Accused of Plagiarism (Again!): Hashtag “Peacebird Repeatedly Accused of Plagiarism” drew in over 230 million views on Weibo after the company produced an exact copy of a fluffy white and violet number from SOS Seamstress, only at five times the price. The brand has been called out for allegedly plagiarising other brands including Annomundi, UNALLOYED, Moussy, Off-White, FREI, Maje, and other domestic and international brands.

Premium and Luxury

Dior, an Apology is Overdue: Dior is the latest foreign brand in the dog box after a handbag poster apparently tarnishing the image of Chinese women sparked a furore on Chinese social media. In the poster at A Lady Dior exhibition at an art centre in Shanghai, a young woman with dark skin and freckles dressed partly like a woman in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) blankly stares at viewers. According to China Daily, what has outraged Chinese consumers is the portrayal of “Chinese women as outdated and ugly, with the use of exaggerated makeup and outmoded style of dress, and also its arrogance and lack of appreciation for Chinese beauty and its disrespect for the different aesthetics of Chinese culture.” Here is the ad.