Chinese millennials are a new breed of consumers who will shape the future of commerce. They are very interested in consumption and excited by it. They constantly live-stream fashion shows on their phones and discuss about new trends.
Photo credit: Jing Daily
Yet, they are also torn between the old and new. They are conflicted between their national pride and their love for western brands. They are struggling to find their own individuality in a collective culture.
At a recent fashion show in Paris, Victoria’s Secret tried to woo Chinese consumers by showcasing dragon-themed lingerie. The supermodel Elsa Hosk appeared on the runway with an elaborate dragon wrapped around on her body, Kendall Jendall wore a pair of phoenix wings made of feather, and Adrian Lima cat-walked in a pair of dragon-embroidered stiletto boots.
But Chinese consumers found these outfits distasteful and tacky. Continue reading
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping before a meeting at the Great Hall of the People on April 15, 2013 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Andy Wong – Pool/Getty Images)
One never knows whether President-elect Donald Trump means what he says or says what him means.
After his provocative phone call with Taiwan president Tsai Ing-wen and his tweet storms bashing China, many China watchers started to worry that a US-China trade war might be imminent.
But then, he nominated the Iowa governor Terry Branstad as his ambassador to China, a move immediately welcomed by Beijing. Mr. Branstad is considered “a longtime friend of the Chinese people,” and knows the Chinese President Xi Jinping personally.
If approved by the Senate,
First, the Chinese value personal relationships more than anything else. Continue reading
This short video from Alibaba is a great summary on how China is creating the future of commerce.
During the 2015 Tmall 11:11 Global Shopping Festival gala in Beijing on November 11, 2015. (Photo credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Alibaba is counting down to its annual shopping bonanza: the Singles Day shopping festival on November 11. Since it was launched seven years ago, it has become the largest shopping day on the planet. Last year, it generated sales of $14 billion, more than double the total online sales from Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined in the U.S.
This year’s Singles Day will be like no other. Alibaba wants to make it a global phenomenon. It has already kicked-off a series of warming up events including an eight-hour live-streamed “see now buy now” fashion show from Shanghai, where consumers can order anything they see on the catwalk in real time.
But Here is a sneak peek at what will happen. Continue reading
A driver uses his smartphone to pay the highway toll by way of Alipay in Hangzhou, China on September 21, 2016. (Photo credit STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Ten years ago, eBay lost the battle to conquer China’s e-commerce market to small upstart Alibaba. Ten years on, China’s e-commerce market has grown more than tenfold, and Alibaba has become a global conglomerate with its arms stretching across multiple disciplines such as payments, big data, Hollywood and more.
The game of e-commerce has also changed. With proliferating smartphones, e-commerce has become increasingly mobile. Euromonitor estimates that mobile commerce will amount to $972 billion by the end of this year. By 2021, mobile payments are expected to reach $3 trillion.
This is an area where American companies are falling behind. Continue reading
Recently, American retailer Macy’s announced that it will launch an e-commerce site in China in 2017. Will Macy’s follow the footsteps of other American giants such as e-Bay, which failed miserably, or Amazon, which couldn’t gain much footing in China?
For Macy’s, or any other retailer large or small, the Chinese consumer market is both enticing and intimidating. China’s e-commerce market is the largest in the world, and has been growing by double digits. However, Chinese shoppers behave differently than their Western counterparts, and market conditions are fundamentally different as well.
In order to win in China’s e-commerce market, the following three strategies are essential. Continue reading
Starbucks’ announcement to enter China’s tea market has raised a few eyebrows. Some questioned why Chinese consumers would want to drink tea from a foreign coffee chain, given their own rich tea tradition. I wondered, however, why it took Starbucks so long to venture into China’s tea business.
Little has changed in China’s tea culture
I recently visited Longjing Village in Hangzhou, one of China’s famous tea capitals. A college friend wanted to treat me to my hometown’s finest green tea—the Longjing tea, also known as Dragon Well tea. Legend has it that the Qing emperor Qianlong favored Longjing tea so much that he planted 18 tea trees in the hills himself.
Farmers at Longjing Village have been growing tea for centuries. In recent years, they turned the village into a tea garden with restaurants featuring local cuisine. Its countryside setting is much sought after by locals and tourists alike who want to escape the stress of city life. Continue reading
The Economist Innovation Summit 2016 was held on Sept. 6 in Hong Kong. I was honored to speak at the event.
While attending the event, I live-tweeted highlights from the event. The following tweets have been getting many impressions and retweets:
In a recent article in the Washington Post, “Why China won’t own next generation manufacturing,” the author Vivek Wadhwa discusses China’s new 10-year plan, called “Made in China 2025.” The plan aims to modernize China’s manufacturing with advanced technologies such as robotics, 3-D printing, cloud computing, and big data.
China has committed $150 billion to this gigantic modernization scheme. “But no matter how much money it spends,” Mr. Wadhwa writes, “China simply can’t win with next-generation manufacturing.”
The reason? Chinese robots are poor quality, Wadhwa argues, and they cannot be more productive than American robots. And most importantly, the Chinese workforce lacks the skills to perform in an advanced manufacturing setting.
But I would not write off China’s ability to advance its technologies as well as its workforce so quickly. There are signs that Chinese industries are catching up with, and in some cases, even exceeding the West. Continue reading