After 24 hours of swiping on ‘Singles Day’ bargains, Chinese online shoppers once again broke records for e-commerce giant Alibaba. (Photo credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images)
Alibaba’s Singles’ Day Shopping Festival is like no other. It’s a combination of commerce, entertainment and an exuberant celebration of consumerism.
Retail as entertainment is one of the hallmarks of Singles Day. A new word, “retail-tainment,” was created just for that. At the gala counting down to the opening of the sale before midnight November 11, a cohort of top celebrities including Nichole Kidman, Pharrell Williams, Chinese movie star Fan Bingbing put on an extravaganza for a cheering audience. Jack Ma, Alibaba’s charismatic founder, also made a surprise appearance as the “retail-tainment-in-chief.”
It’s almost like the Academy Awards, a New Year’s Celebration, and the Superbowl all in one. Continue reading
Ivanka Trump speaks, as President Trump listens, during a meeting with women small business owners in the White House on March 27, 2017. (Photo by Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty Images)
Despite Trump’s anti-China rhetoric during his campaign,
A survey by Brand USA reveals that the Chinese are the only group indicating that the political climate in the United States under Donald Trump has made them more likely to visit the country than before. This puts them in stark contrast to every other country surveyed, which includes Mexico, Canada, and Australia. Continue reading
Wondering what the future of commerce looks like? Look no further. China’s e-commerce sphere offers us a glimpse of what commerce will look like in the future. It will be a convergence of mobile commerce, social commerce, and entertainmerce. Continue reading
Early in March, more than 4,000 people gathered at “Millennial 20/20 Summit” in New York to discuss power of the millennial generation and how they will affect the future of retail.
Chinese millennials, numbering more than 400 million, are a force to be reckoned with. While many have recognized them as ultra-connected consumers, few have realized that this has been caused by their place in history as . This alone sets them apart from other millennials in a most fundamental way. Continue reading
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
Xiao-jie is 21. A senior in college, she is one of six million people who traveled overseas during China’s Golden Week holiday (Oct. 1-7). Japan was her destination. The trip cost about 10,000 yuan (about $1,500), which her parents paid for. As the only child in the family, Xiao-jie gets pretty much everything she wants.
The same is true for her friend who traveled with her.
Xiao-jie and her friend are not alone. According to China National Administration of Tourism, more than 120 million Chinese traveled abroad in 2015, spending $194 billion. About half of those Chinese travelers were millennials–born after the 1980–and they accounted for two-thirds of Chinese outbound travel spending.
The travel industry is excited to target “wealthy” Chinese millennials. While some Chinese young people are from wealthy families, most of them are not. But compared to Western millennials, they have two significant advantages. 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 Chinese super app WeChat is not only a superior social media tool (as I wrote here), it is also at the forefront of mobile e-commerce innovation that the West has never seen.
As of this writing, WeChat has over 800 million users (yes, it seems that WeChat’s user base is growing by the minute). Better yet, its users are super active. An average user checks into the app 10 times a day. They are practically living on WeChat.
This has created a tremendous opportunity for brands to reach consumers. Reports indicate that brands in the fashion, watches, and jewelry categories receive an average of 7,000 views per WeChat post.
WeChat offers platforms for brands to engage in interactive and one-to-one communication, driving online-to-offline activities and encouraging loyalty. WeChat’s payment system allows brands to sell directly to consumers seamlessly. Its true potential has yet to be tapped. Continue reading
It was not too long ago that Apple’s iPhone was a status symbol among young Chinese middle class consumers. They would stand in a long line before the launch of a new iPhone and spend a month’s salary just to own one.
This has changed. According to a Financial Times article, Chinese consumers no longer buy into the hype they once did in iPhone. These days, Apple looks like “a trend follower” and is struggling to “keep itself interesting” in China.
Apple has continued losing ground as China’s smartphone market becomes increasingly competitive. iPhone sales dropped 32 percent in the second quarter, and the Silicon Valley company fell to fifth place behind Huawei and other unknown brands such as Oppo and Vivo, according to research from International Data Corp (IDC) Continue reading