This week’s news and trends in China:
2021 Sees Online Charity Donations Soar to ¥10 Billion ($1.49 billion) in China: Chinese netizens donated nearly ¥10 billion through online charities and channels last year, up 18% from the previous year. More than 500 million Chinese consumers made philanthropic purchases through Tmall and Taobao e-commerce platforms, benefitting 2,450 charitable projects organised by 214 philanthropic institutions. In 2021, Chinese made 150 million donations worth of ¥5.4 billion ($810 million) through Tencent’s platforms.
Beijing, Shanghai Reopening Speed Up: China Lockdown Tracker: Beijing restaurants reopened on Monday and all schools by next week. Of China’s top 50 cities by economic size, none currently have widespread restrictions in place.
China President Xi Jinping’s Pitch to Anthony Albanese for Relationship Repair for Gough Whitlam Anniversary: China has escalated its push for a relationship reset with Australia ahead of the 50th anniversary of Gough Whitlam’s diplomatic embrace of China, as senior business figures argue the shift “cannot be overlooked”. Premier Li Keqiang has sent a letter to Anthony Albanese, Foreign Minister Wang Yi has called for cooperation with Australia in the Pacific and China’s largest state media network, Xinhua, argued the Golden Anniversary in December presented a “rare opportunity” to strengthen ties.
Rising costs and Covid Delays: Is China’s Manufacturing Hotspot Under Threat?: Brands that manufacture in China have been facing challenges with Covid lockdowns in the short term and rising costs in the longer term. But many companies who have explored moving manufacturing out of China in recent years found supporting infrastructure came up short in most instances.
JD Worldwide Sales Jump as 618 Grand Promotion Kicks Off: After the eight-day warm-up phase for pre-orders, JD Worldwide saw the transaction value of its duty-free business rise 20 times year-on-year and its cross-border surrogate shopping business up by more than seven times in the first 24 hours of the mid-year shopping festival. Sales of cross-border food, beverage and fresh products increased by 160%, in which imported alcoholic beverages grew nine-fold. Imported moisturising lotion saw a rise of eight times. On JD overall, cellphones, air conditioners, Zongzi (Chinese sticky rice dumplings for the June 3 Dragon Boat Festival), baby formula and toys were the hottest search keywords in those first 10 minutes.
Douyin Sees Ecommerce Sales More than Triple in the Past Year: Douyin’s gross merchandise value (GMV) surged 320% year-on-year in the year ending in April as the company sold more than 10 billion products. Douyin is estimated to have achieved more than ¥800 billion ($120 billion) GMV in 2021 – dwarfing Tiktok’s ¥6 billion ($900 million). The number of customers on the platform rose by 69%. By comparison, Alibaba’s consumer platforms generated ¥8.3 trillion ($1.25 trillion), although growth was flat.
Mobile money: is Europe Lagging? Is America Ahead? Is China the Leader?: Stats are dubious for different measures of mobile payments globally, but it is clear that China is the standout leader, with Chinese consumers spending $45 trillion a year on mobiles. Americans spent almost around 1/100th on P2P mobile payments: an estimated $479 billion in 2021.
Chinese Scientists Produce World’s First Pigs Cloned Entirely by Robot: Researchers at China’s Nankai University claimed this week that they successfully cloned pigs through an entirely automated process for the first time in March. The technique could benefit Chinese agriculture and consumers and help reduce the country’s dependence on imported breeding stock.
Cha Latte Completed its Angel Round Financing Led by Cyanhill Capital: China’s instant coffee brand Cha Latte (花田萃) completed its Angel Round Financing worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Cha Latte created their three-in-one instant coffee that carries notes of various flowers and teas sources from Yunnan. One of its signature drinks includes Red Robe Cha Latte, a type of rock tea originally from Fujian province.
‘Kong: Skull Island’ and ‘The Great Wall’ Actress Fined $1 Million for Touting Candies as Weight-Loss Drug: Jing has been a brand ambassador for Infinite Free, a Guangzhou-based company that claimed its fruit and vegetable candy could prevent the body from absorbing sugars, oils and fats. The 33-year-old actress said that people could keep in shape by taking two “candies” after eating a meal. The ¥7.22 million ($1.1 million) fine was due to the advertising law stating ordinary food can’t be claimed to have therapeutic effects.
Drugs Approved by the Chinese NMPA in 2021: A total of 61 new drugs were approved by the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA), up from 46 in 2020. 37 were new chemical drugs and 24 were biological products. 49% of approvals were for foreign companies.
‘It is Like a Vitamin’: Wave of Mindfulness Meditation Reaches Chinese Shores as Working Adults Grapple with Stressful Lives and COVID-19: Growing anxieties about life in China have led more people to find avenues to cope, with mindfulness being a popular choice. A free-of-charge mindfulness meditation podcast has been played over 11.3 million times and has 163,000 subscribers on Ximalaya. An introduction course to mindfulness meditation has been viewed millions of times on Bilibili.
Five Asian Beauty Trends Decoded: 94% of Gen-Zers in China do research on product ingredients, efficacy and safety before purchasing to know if the product is suitable for their skin type & concerns. One of Chinese consumers’ pain points is the freshness of skincare products.
Marriott Partners with Ant Group to Enhance Digital Operations in China: Marriott is working with the Ant Group to enhance its digital operations in the Chinese market by providing Alipay members with various benefits when they sign up for the Marriott Bonvoy Rewards Program. New members can currently enjoy a ¥1 (15c) breakfast in selected hotels.
Deglobalisation Hits the Art World: One of the drivers of increased localisation in the arts is, counterintuitively, China — a country that has built 128 major new arts centres over the past 30 years. In a country the size of China being a local arts hub, rather than an international one, is a major achievement, well worth a large investment. Especially if the arts hub looks great in photographs.