China is the second latest economy in the world, every significant brand's future is impacted by its growth (or collapse!); but who's got the time?! A weekly potpourri of ten reads that will make you look like a keen China observer during any conversation about China.
This week: Tom Ford, Apple, Moutai, iPhone 5, BYD's remote car, Baidu, KFC, luxury watch corruption search and more...
Students say they are forced to work on new iPhone 5
"Students from Huai'an in Jiangsu Province were driven to a factory in the city run by Taiwan's Foxconn Technology Company after the plant couldn't find sufficient workers for the production of Apple's much-anticipated iPhone 5, they said in online posts."
Related Reading: Apple blamed for 10 unfair after-sale clauses
Related Related Reading: Clues About iPhone 5 on Alibaba?
Related Related Related Reading: The Honeymoon's Over for Apple in China as iPhone 5 Looms
Taiwanese designer promoting Taiwan with fashion brand
"Taiwanese fashion designer Shi Jen Huang, whose winter collection was recommended by a leading Belgian fashion institute in August, said her ultimate goal is to promote her designs internationally as a 'made in Taiwan' brand."
Bottoms Up, Profits Up: Moutai Defies China Slump
"The company, which comes close to being a 'national champion' and says that its form of baijiu (or 'white alcohol') is one of the world’s three most famous liquors, announced that it is raising the prices of some of its beverages by 20-30%. That launched the shares of the company’s stock nearly 6% on the Shanghai stock exchange on Tuesday. Talk about elastic demand."
Related Reading: Chinese liquor prices rise ahead of holiday
This $10K Chinese car comes equipped with remote control — seriously
"The BYD Su Rui is an ordinary-looking 5-seat sedan with 154 horsepower and 36 miles to the gallon. But it comes standard with very un-ordinary remote control technology that allows owners to park the car in tight spots, call the car over to pick them up in case of inclement weather, or show off for their friends — all at the sedate pace of 1.2 miles per hour."
Baidu, China’s Google, jumps on mobile, launches speedy Android browser
"The Beijing-based company announced the browser, which is dubbed Baidu Explorer in English, at its annual Baidu World forum. The product has been in development since 2010, it says, and it is available to download (here) with both Chinese and English versions. It is claimed that the new browser runs 20 percent faster than the competition, on average."
Club Med woos the new jet set in China
Related Reading: Hawaii eyes China as state ups tourism forecast
China ex-minister says foreign auto JV policy "like opium"
"'It's like opium. Once you've had it you will get addicted forever,' former machinery and industry minister, He Guangyuan, was quoted as telling the auto channel of Yahoo.com during an industry forum in Tianjin over the weekend."
Related Reading: Brand-building urged amid overcapacity in China's car sector
Chinese e-Commerce: Real products, fake prices?
"Last month, China’s e-Commerce industry descended into full-scale war: Suning, Gome, and 360Buy vowed to undercut each other on electronics and appliance sales, with several other sites taking sides, mostly against 360Buy. The price war was supposed to benefit consumers, but we predicted its outcome would favor China’s largest online retailer, who chose to remain neutral. Three weeks on, Alibaba’s Chairman is finally weighing in, and a government investigation finds many of the original promotions were a sham."
Related Reading: China Declares War On Prices, Staff That Turn Profit To Be Fired
Hunt widens from officials' watches to luxury belts, glasses
"The official at the center of a recent storm of controversy has fallen deeper into disrepute, after photos emerged of Yang Dacai, the Shaanxi official who smiled at the site of a fatal accident, wearing not just expensive watches but high-priced glasses and belts as well. Yang, the director of the Shaanxi Administration of Work Safety, was already being investigated by the authorities due to the many pictures that had been posted online showing him wearing a range of expensive watches, some believed to be worth more than 100,000 yuan ($16,000)."
Finger-licking protest over food safety
"Mr Yang, 30, brought 22 sets of take-out KFC buckets and put them at the entrance of the restaurant in Hankou, Hubei province, on Tuesday. The man said he saw the chef of the restaurant making food without wearing gloves, hat and mask as KFC regulations state. Yang refused to eat the food and requested 20 sets of buckets as compensation, but the restaurant's manager refused."
Tom Ford Seeds China Fragrance Line
Fashion designer Tom Ford scents an opportunity on the mainland. According to August 2012 US trademark filings, the former Gucci designer is preparing a line of China-themed fragrances. Trademark terms include "Fleur de Chine," "Shanghai Lily" and "Atelier D'Orient."