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?! Here's a potpourri of ten reads that will make you look like a keen China observer during any conversation about China.
Above, an Apple reseller in China "thinks different" when it comes to the new iPhone 5, just as Tim Cook readies two new Apple stores. And below: China Southern dogged, Shanghai Fashion Week, a hairy marketing challenge, and more.
360buy.com Spreading its Global Wings
"'In the initial stage, we want to buy made-in-China products domestically and deliver them to overseas clients,' Shi said. Gradually, 360buy.com plans to set up warehouses in specific countries, allowing it to buy and store Chinese products in large quantities in these countries. The delivery period will be greatly shortened, offering overseas customers more satisfaction, Shi said. But he said the ultimate goal for 360buy.com is to act like Amazon, in conducting business in different countries locally, with a widened product source as well." [China Daily]
Convincing Women in China They're Too Hairy
"In the $427 billion global personal-care products business, manufacturers have long convinced women to focus on perceived flaws. Estée Lauder and L’Oréal sell skin-whitening creams in China, where women have long been fixated on lighter skin, according to Harriet Evans, a professor of Chinese cultural studies at the University of Westminster. Sehgal says his company is not 'here to remind the Chinese how much hair they have. Our job is to talk about the fact that beautiful smooth skin is critical and grooming is critical. Women make their own conclusions as to what that means.'" [Bloomberg]
Do U.S. Consumers Even Know What Is Made In China?
"Are Chinese companies a threat to the United States? The House of Representatives Intelligence Committee says yes when it comes to China’s telecom giants, Huawei Technologies and ZTE. The committee’s report asserts that Huawei’s equipment poses a threat to national security. However, these allegations have not hindered the company’s success in its less controversial consumer business where it’s now the world’s third-largest smartphone maker. While company names like Huawei and Tsingtao Beer are more clearly identifiable as Chinese, it’s increasingly difficult for American consumers to differentiate between Chinese and Western companies in their everyday lives. Consumer purchases ranging from buying a new car to purchasing movie tickets or seats to see a favorite NBA basketball team all help illustrate both the extent to which Chinese companies have entered our lives in America, and underscore the fact that typical American consumers, may not even know which companies are made in China in the first place." [Forbes]
Related Reading: Li-Ning Signs Dwyane Wade, Will the West Follow?
Cemented: Korean Fashion Takes Off in China
"Over the past decade, China has been swept by Hanliu (韩流), better known in English as the Korean Wave. Korean brands and cultural products are ubiquitous here, promoting anything from cosmetics to baked goods, across large and small cities and online. Local girls and boys admire Korean pop culture icons, and Chinese starlets and wannabes fly to Korea to shop and get beauty treatments. This year, Korean brands in China are expected to become more popular than ever, drawing momentum from Gangnam-Style fever and the surge of anti-Japanese sentiments. Unlike Japan, Europe, or the US, Korea enjoys a unique status in China as a friendly neighbor that shared China’s painful experiences under the thumb of foreign aggressors. During China’s recent territorial flare up with Japan, some Korean brands hung Korean (and Chinese) flags outside their stores to make sure buyers know the difference." [Buy Buy China]
Pre-1997 All Over Again: Well-Off Chinese Still Looking to Immigrate
"Why Cyprus? While mild weather, rich history and a nice location in the Eastern Mediterranean might make the tiny island nation an attractive place to live, the main appeal is the incredibly low bar it sets for immigration: Anyone who spends €300,000, or roughly $393,000, on a piece of property on the island automatically becomes eligible for permanent European Union residency." [Wall Street Journal]
Shaking Up Beijing’s Taxi Market
"'The taxi companies may not make any direct profit each time they use the system,' Wang said. “But it is profitable in the long term. It can help drivers improve efficiency and increase their income. When drivers’ income increases, the money they hand in to the taxi company will be stable.' However, for investors, actual operation is the most profitable market related to taxis. Zhou Hang (周航) started his Yidao Yongche (易到用车) company in May 2010 offering taxi services to customers through advance reservation. Currently, it’s China’s most successful car reservation platform with hundreds of thousands of members." [The Economic Observer]
China Southern Air Boycotted Over Mysterious Dog Death
"On the morning of October 10, a high-profile lawsuit against China Southern, one of China’s “big three” airlines, opened at Chaoyang People’s Court in Beijing. The plaintiffs? Zhao Nan and Chen Lei, a couple from Tianjin, north China, who blame the airline for the death of their golden retriever, Mars. The airline has refused to apologise." [China Dialogue]
Netease Expanding into the Pork Business…Wait, What?
"But if you’re rushing out to pick up some Netease pork for dinner tonight, put the brakes on, because Lin says the real thing won’t be available for 'at least a year' when Netease has the second generation of pigs being raised on its own farm. As for the weibo photo, it comes from an internal beta test of sorts conducted by the Netease food committee, which had previously been responsible for the food in Netease’s cafeterias." [Tech in Asia]
Chinese Graduates: Will Work For Less
"More than 80 percent of surveyed students expected a salary in their first job of less than 6,000 yuan per month. About 54 percent of respondents would accept a monthly salary of between 2,000 yuan to 4,000 yuan, and about 21 percent would accept a salary below 2,000 yuan.
For most of the undergraduate or junior college students, the expected salary was between 2,000 yuan to 4,000 yuan per month. For masters students, 32.3 percent expected their monthly salary to reach 4,000 yuan to 6,000 yuan after graduation and 20.6 percent expected a salary of between 6,000 yuan to 8,000 yuan." [China Daily]
Related Reading: 200 mln Chinese over age 60 as of 2013
Shanghai Fashion Week: EcoChic Rules
"As emerging international and Chinese labels hit runways in Xintiandi for Shanghai Fashion Week S/S 2013, the 2012 EcoChic Design Award competition is set to make its first foray into mainland China. Organized by the Hong Kong-based fashion NGO Redress, whose mission is “to promote environmental sustainability in Asia’s fashion industry by reducing textile waste, pollution, water and energy consumption,” EcoChic is asking voters to vote on their favorite emerging eco-designer, with the winner receiving an opportunity of a lifetime with sustainable jewelry brand, John Hardy." [Jing Daily]
Below: Li Shuai's EcoChic entry
[Apple China reseller photo at top via Reddit]