China's Kids are Treasures for Everyone
China can be a tough place to be a youngster. As the only child in most cases, they are the single hope for their parents and two sets of grand parents, to be successful, marry well, and make their fortune to provide for their elders in their latter years. Every minute, some 31 babies are born in the Mainland, or around 16-18 million new bouncing babies a year. Many of those millions will be competing for the extremely limited spots in the good schools, best universities, and eventually, for the top jobs.
Luxury in China still the Tip of the Iceberg
Many luxury brands in China haven't been smiling much lately. In years gone by, the world's big peddlers of luxury have been broadcasting double digit annual growth in China - this year, the market is picked to grow just 2.5%. The Chinese Government's crackdown on corruption, lavish events and gift giving has seen sales of Swiss watches, premium alcohol and mega brands such as Gucci actually decline.
China's Lust for Overseas Property
In the first four weeks of January this year, the air quality in Beijing was 16.6% worse than the shrouded confines of an airport smoking lounge. Last month in the Northeast city of Harbin, pollution led to visibility at less than 10 metres in places. The PM2.5 levels reached 1,000, forty times the rate that the World Health Organisation deems safe, and as high as Fairbanks, Alaska during the 2004 wildfires.
Single's Day Shows China's Online Might
20 years ago at Nanjing University, a group of students decided to celebrate their bachelorhood by creating a festival called 'Singles' Day' on 11.11. The date was chosen because of the connection with single 1's, which carried through in celebrations such as eating four Youtiao, deep fried dough sticks that resemble a '1', with a baozi steamed bun. Similar to much of China's popular culture, it spread over the Internet and is now a firmly-entrenched annual tradition for Chinese youth.
Inconsistencies of China Stats
There are new stats and figures coming out about China every day. They are often staggering, and regularly inconsistent. China's diversity and opaqueness means there's often a few stray figures, but after studying enough China research and data, consistent trends and themes do come through. Notwithstanding, sometimes even the most reputable of sources don't align with these trends.
How Digital is Reshaping Chinese Consumer Habits
If you were to take a straw poll asking how the Internet is changing the way Chinese consumers buy products and services, the majority of people would likely make reference to online shopping. And rightfully so, eCommerce is booming in China. These days, most Chinese workplaces get more visits from kuaidi (couriers) delivering online purchases, than legitimate business visitors. Alibaba, whose Taobao and Tmall sites account for more than 90% of online shopping in China, saw their revenue grow almost 60% in the second quarter of the year to $1.73 billion, with close to half of that being straight profit.
All Chinese Are Not Created Equal - Especially when Marketing
Mention Shanghai to a Beijinger, and there's a good chance they'll scoff. Talk about Beijing to Shanghainese, and there may also be some jeering. Northern Chinese like noodles, southerners have a preference for rice. Travelling between regions in China, differences are evident in people's appearance, diet and aspects of their culture, as well as climate variations. Whilst most of us are aware of this, curiously a lot of our marketing efforts still treat China as one big homogenous land, or at best, separates sophisticated high tier city consumers from the smaller ones.
Xiaomi is a Case Study for the Way Chinese Consumers are Evolving
Few things are changing the way Chinese consumers communicate, build brand preferences and shop than mobile phones. With feature-packed smartphones such as the XiaoMi Hongmi selling for ¥799 ($130), smartphones have become accessible for every middle and upper class Chinese consumer. 460 million of China's 591 million Internet users go online on their mobiles, and that will grow even further with the 450 million smartphones forecast to sell in China next year. Two-thirds of Chinese with smartphones now use them to browse or buy products. For wealthy Chinese, it's nearly three quarters.
China's Golden Week “Tourist Apocalypse”: A Good Sign
Welcome back to our China readers, we hope you had a good break. If peak hour crowds at People's Square or Xizhimen subway stations are your thing, then let's hope you managed to get out to see some of China's tourist attractions over the golden week just passed. In what has been described as “tourist apocalypse”, a reported 100 million Chinese were on public transport each day of the national holiday, 50% more than this year's record Spring Festival traffic. China's top 125 tourist attractions saw almost 20% growth from last year's golden week.
Chinese Shoppers versus those in the West
Anyone looking for a view into how Chinese consumers differ from those in the West, should pop down to one of Ikea's 12 stores in China on an idle Saturday afternoon. Shoppers in China's Ikea mega stores provide a glimpse into the modern Chinese consumer: the parade of smartphone-snapping window shoppers; the young, cashed-up couples meticulously studying product details; the masses sprawled over furniture, from lovers cuddling on a couch watching iPad movies, to grandparents, parents and child sipping from flasks of tea and eating pork buns around the dinner table, to those deep in the land of nod on a queen size bed, just there for the whole experience.