Posted by Abe Sauer on September 6, 2013 12:38 PM
China is the second largest economy in the world and every significant brand's future is impacted by its growth (or collapse)—but who's got the time?! Here's the week's reads that will make you look like a keen China observer in case you find yourself immersed in a cultural conversation.
This week: Victoria's Secret knock-offs... G. Patton SUV at the Chengdu Auto Expo… Xiaomi beats Apple… Coke… IKEA… drone deliveries… Samsonite sales… Jiang Wen goes Taobao… adult diapers... and more.Continue reading...
Posted by Adeline Chong on August 14, 2013 04:49 PM
Just like the beloved snack cake Twinkies was rescued from the depths of its owner's bankruptcy, Borders, a longtime staple among US retail bookstores, is getting a new chance at life thanks to a few global bookstore lovers that snatched up trademarks and intellectual property rights at auction after the brand went bust in 2011.
When it was announced recently that Borders would resurface in Singapore before the year's end, book lovers and sellers alike greeted the news with cautious optimism. After all, Borders Singapore—which had operated under the independent Borders Asia Pacific—quickly became one of Singapore's most iconic and loved bookstores when it opened in 1997—even emerging as the group's best performing outlet in 2006—but it quickly met its demise in September 2011 after its owner, Australia's Redgroup Retail, fell to a similar fate as its US counterpart.
In Singapore, the store's demise then seemed inevitable, bankruptcy or not, as loyal customers became disgruntled at the deep discounts offered to non-members and customers at large were baffled by the store's poor book selection and foray into non-book items like toys and cookware. The frequent sales also created a discount mentality amongst customers, eating into margins. Globally, the group's late foray into e-books and its big push into sunset product categories such as music CDs were also cited for its demise.Continue reading...
Posted by Adeline Chong on August 5, 2013 05:45 PM
Kanebo's voluntary recall across Asia of its skin-whitening product range in early July was a wakeup call for consumers as well as the skin lightening industry. Kanebo, the second largest cosmetics company in Japan after giant Shiseido, sells products in over 50 countries across Asia, Europe, and the US, with its whitening products comprising nearly 30 percent of its skincare range.
Nearly two months before its July 4 recall, a clinic reported to Kanebo that three patients had complained of skin damage following use of a Kanebo whitening product. The company withheld the information for over a month before notifying the government and issuing a recall, a move that garnered worldwide criticism. The products, which gradually lighten the skin, are a part of a $13 billion industry in Asia alone, where fair skin has long been associated with an elevated social class.Continue reading...
Posted by Adeline Chong on July 29, 2013 02:42 PM
In many Asian cities, a wait for a taxi during peak hours can seem interminable. Uber, an app-based private car service, which aims to become "Everyone's Private Driver", has begun its rollout in Asia to hopefully end that.
The luxury car service, which was launched in 2010 and counts Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Goldman Sachs as investors, enters into a market awash with private cab companies and luxury mobile services that cater to Asia's business elite. Uber is no different, as it has entered Singapore, as well as Seoul and Taipei with premium priced services like UberBLACK, which shuttles passengers around in luxury sedans and SUVs.
In Singapore, for example, the S$7 base fare is double the S$3.00 to S$3.50 flag-down rate of taxis, with a minimum fare of S$12. The eventual fare can be three times that of a taxi fare, compared to a premium of 20- to 50 percent for Uber car rides in the US. However, the ride is typically in a Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan, a far step above the economy vehicles that are available for typical taxi rides. However, Uber is not the only one offering luxury jaunts, as it faces competition from Comfort and Premier cab companies. The competition is only greater in other Asian cities, especially those in China and Japan.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on July 23, 2013 06:20 PM
Not wanting to be left standing outside a big pool of potential cutomers, Jaguar Land Rover has indicated that it wants to catch up with its German luxury-car rivals in China by developing new models, expanding its sales outlets and forging more local joint ventures.
The company, owned by India's Tata Motors conglomerate, has only had a presence in China for three years and sold just fewer than 20,000 units there in June—versus 45,000 sold by Audi and 35,000 by BMW.
And while car sales across the board have been cooling a bit in China, Bob Grace, Jaguar Land Rover's president in China, told Livemint that the luxury segment in China will continue to grow enough for expansion by all brands. "There is enough headroom for everyone to grow," he said.Continue reading...
chew on this
Posted by Adeline Chong on July 22, 2013 11:56 AM
McDonald’s announced recently that it will be opening its first outlet in Vietnam next year in Ho Chi Minh City, the country's commercial hub.
While the fast-food giant has an immense presence in greater Asia, McDonald's is late to market in Vietnam, where Yum! Brands' KFC and Pizza Hut, along with Burger King, Subway, Jollibee (Philippines), and Lotteria (South Korea) already have a solid presence. Trailblazer KFC opened its first restaurant in 1997 and now has 100 outlets in Vietnam. Burger King, meanwhile, opened just last year and has 12 outlets, while Starbucks opened its first location in Ho Chi Minh City this past February.
McDonald’s apparently considered the market over a decade ago, however the lack of a domestic cource of beef and a poor supply-chain infrastructure deterred the company. Prior to that, the company was briefly banned from the country in the 1990s—about the time that the local economy became accessible to the rest of the world, according to the Financial Times.Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on July 15, 2013 04:04 PM
If I only have an A-cup breast, will you still love me? So asks a new Dove campaign in China.
On the heels of its success with the "Dove Real Beauty Sketches" campaign in the west, Dove is taking its self-esteem message to women in the world's most populous nation.
Interestingly, the campaign takes on a whole different set of baggage in China, where a gender imbalance and the stigma over "leftover women" make for a tricky environment for marketers—one where messaging runs the risk of exploitation, or even worse, being ignored in the din.Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on July 15, 2013 11:24 AM
The whole branding industry may be for naught in North America. According to the new Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Shopping Behavior, those residing in North America and Europe are much more concerned about the pricing of a product than its brand. Meanwhile, consumers in the Asia and Asia Pacific regions are impulsive, brand-centric shoppers, while those in the Middle East and Africa tend to consult industry experts for advice on the most famous brands.Continue reading...