This week’s news and trends in China:
These Are the 33 New Measures China Is Taking to Boost Growth: The State Council’s plan includes tax rebates for more industries, stimulus and supply chain help.
Beijing, Shanghai Start to Reopen as Covid Cases Drop: Nationwide, the number of new Covid cases with symptoms on the mainland fell to 20 on Sunday, down from 54 a day earlier.
‘Innovation is Shifting to East’ as China Amasses Patents: Official: China approved about 700,000 patents for inventions last year, a 30% increase compared to a year earlier, and a ratio of high-valued patents nearly double that of 2017. China was 12th in the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Global Innovation Index for 2021, up from 22nd in 2017.
Chinese Consumers are Stuck at Home but Still Spending a Ton, Alibaba Says: Alibaba reported a better than expected earnings and sales for Q1, and now boasts more than 1 billion active customers for the first time. The company noted the spike in Covid has seen a shift in how and what Chinese consumers are buying. Alibaba’s user traffic and engagement have remained resilient, sales in the fashion and electronics categories declined, but demand for essential supplies such as food and personal care products increased significantly, as well as health care, activewear and outdoor products.
China’s Singles Agree: Age Matters: Men on online dating services prefer young women in both relative and absolute terms according to analysis of dating profiles in Shanghai and interviews. Discrimination faced by China’s “leftover women,” typically defined as successful professionals in their late twenties or older, is widespread. But the study found that single men past a certain age face stigmas in the dating market, too.
What a Buzzword Reveals About Chinese Tech’s Urban Bias: In some cases, internet companies seem to lean into stereotypes about rural or less educated users outside of major cities by increasing the frequency of notifications and promoting lurid or salacious content. Internet companies’ ‘xiachen’ strategies often reflect a biased view of rural and small-town internet users. They’re framed as places to be exploited — their residents backward and easily contented. Yet China’s economic development varies not just between large cities and the countryside, but also within so-called xiachen markets themselves.
‘The End of the Universe’: China’s Forgotten Celebs Resort to Selling Stuff on Livestream: Forgotten pop stars, former Olympians, and washed-up tech entrepreneurs are all cashing in on China’s booming livestreaming scene.
China Releases First Technology Roadmap for Intelligent Agricultural Machinery: China released the nation’s first technology roadmap for intelligent agricultural machinery. The roadmap is based on unmanned agricultural machinery, drones and robots and proposes nine frontier and key technologies.
China Advances Further into Genetically Modified Farming: In January, China revised a set of regulations for seed-makers to seek approval for GM crops. For years, the absence of such regulations has hindered the commercialisation process. The technology has shifted in the eyes of the government into becoming an important tool for increasing agricultural production and cutting costs, and ultimately developing China’s food self sufficiency.
Chinese Find that Scotch Whiskey is a Bonny Drop: The Chinese mainland spent 123% more on Scotch last year than pre-Covid 2019, reaching sales of £198 million ($250 million). In 2020 Chinese people spent more than $2.4 billion (£1.9 billion) on spirits with international status – those that retail for $100 or more a bottle – in the domestic duty-paid channel and the new duty-free enclave of Hainan province.
Ultimate Frisbee Soars in China — as a Fashion Sport: Ultimate Frisbee was introduced to China by American expats in the late-’90s / early-2000s, but only in the past year has the sport’s popularity exploded — thanks to influencers selling a lifestyle, many of them on Xiaohongshu (RED).
China’s Tech Giants Test the Waters in Fashion Metaverse Despite Slim Chance of Profits: China’s Big Tech companies from ByteDance to Tencent Holdings are testing the waters in the fashion metaverse even though prospects of monetisation and profitability are slim in the foreseeable future. Xiaohongshu (RED) is selling virtual fashion items in the form of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), while gaming and social media giant Tencent Holdings has undertaken collaborations with a number of fashion brands for its Peacekeeper Elite game, the localised version of PUBG Mobile.
Chinese Feminine Hygiene Brand Fuyanjie Stirs Controversy with “Dark and Smelly” Ad: Chinese female hygiene brand Fuyanjie has come under fire on social media for ‘insulting’ and ‘unscientific’ claims.
BYD’s Luxury Brand Denza to Release Three More Models this Year: CEO: BYD’s luxury Denza brand plans to introduce three new electric vehicle models this year as part of its bid to seize market share. Denza also released the D9, a people-mover-type vehicle with a starting price of ¥335,000 ($49,413). In addition, BYD is launching two off-road EV and PHEV models this year under another high end brand, priced between ¥800K-¥1.5m ($119,500-224,000).