A Chinese consumer's purchase journey is like no other. It begins online for most, with 85% using search engines, brand websites, or social media as their first step for researching a new product or purchase, according to a PWC survey. Whilst online research is not unique to Chinese consumers, the way they do it is. For a start, they are less trusting of products and services, and investigate more, across a wider range of online channels before making a decision. Globally, 56% use a search engine as their first port of call for doing research, whereas just 33% do in China. When Chinese search, it isn't just on Baidu as it is on Google elsewhere. Consumers are more likely to research products on ecommerce platforms like Taobao, particularly when they are getting closer to making a purchase decision.
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In a market like the U.S. things would be looking peachy. Between 2010 and 2012, the top-100 American retailers made up 57% of all consumers sales. By comparison, China's top-100 retailers accounted for 11% of sales in 2010, and just 8% last year. The differences reflect how fragmented China's retail market is, made up by many 'Mom and Pop' stores and small, regionalised chains; further reiterating the need for a region-specific strategy. Most of us know how different the customer journey is in China, but we may not appreciate the extent of dissimilarities in China's retail structure.
Ecommerce makes up 11% of China's retail market - not yet a large share overall - but by far the biggest and only truly nationwide channel to reach China's masses. Sales on Alibaba's Taobao and Tmall now supersede China's top-100 physical retailers' turnover.
Companies such as Unilever have been caught off guard, and are now placing a significant focus online.
In some ways, online shopping levels the playing field for retailers, as everyone has the same storefront and pages to work with to woo consumers. But in many other ways, multi-platform players still have an edge over the pure play online brands. Chinese consumers often look to physical channels when making purchasing decisions, even when buying on the Internet, so it is advantageous to be present online and offline. Big brands also get 'sweeteners' by online retailers, such as JD wooing LVMH's Sephora to launch its first Chinese online store on the platform and Shangpin giving Top Shop special treatment. Unilever is likely to have been given incentives to launch on JD as well.
The average Chinese traveler spent 48,000 yuan ($8,000) in France last year, up nearly 11% from 2012. That compares with a 3% overall decline in Chinese tourists’ per-capita spending. Driving that increase is a Chinese love of luxury. The average tourist spent 23,800 yuan ($3,923) in French stores last year—a 20% increase on 2012.
The nearly $4,000 Chinese tourists are dropping in French stores is 45% more than in the UK.
Brands such as LV have become almost too ubiquitous, meaning that shoppers, especially those heading overseas and looking to make a prestige purchase, are opting for alternatives.
The China National Tourism Administration has predicted that the number of Chinese heading abroad during the holiday break will reach 5.19 million, a 10 percent year-on-year increase, driven by a stronger Yuan, favourable visa policies, increased wealth and demand for quality leisure time.
Spring Festival this year also marked the first time that outbound tourists had outnumbered those travelling at home, with 60 percent of Chinese tourists spending the holiday in foreign destinations.
Falling sales of luxury European brands in China due to the anti-corruption campaign contrasts with the lavish spending by Chinese tourists abroad. These tourists now account for 40 percent of luxury goods sales in France, 35 percent of such sales in Italy and 25 percent of luxury sales in Britain.
In Paris, 80 percent of Chinese tourists' spending was devoted to shopping.
Paolo de Cesare, chief executive officer of Parisian luxury department store Printemps, said: "In the 1970s, we had shoppers from the United States. In the '80s and '90s we had Japanese and in the early 2000s we had Russians. But for the past six or seven years, Chinese have been the main tourists shopping at Printemps". Forty percent of the company's sales comes from overseas visitors, who account for only 20 percent of its customers. Chinese customers make up 50 percent of those from overseas.
Womenswear label Cache-Cache plans to launch its own e-commerce platform …
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Womenswear label Cache-Cache plans to launch its own e-commerce platform in China.
Cache-Cache, owned by French fashion retail group Beaumanoir, is already selling products online in China through Tmall besides its 850 bricks and mortar stores, 70 per cent of which are operated by retail partners.
The brand has sought the expertise of SAP company hybris software and consultant and integrator of cross-channel commerce solutions Keyrus to build the platform.
“When you consider that China is home to 20 per cent of the world’s population, it is essential for a clothing retailer to be doing business there,” said Cache-Cache China MD Stéphane Torck.
“What’s more, e-commerce is booming there. We feel China is a priority market that we need to invest in to support our company’s growth.”
China’s e-commerce numbers can be staggering: one out of every five shoppers in China is an online shopper, and China surpassed the United States as the number one e-commerce market by market size in 2013. Online sales are projected to grow at double digits over the next few years, and many Western brands tried to break into the Chinese market to enjoy that growth. This growth means that many e-tailers have succeeded, but others, such as Neiman Marcus and eBay, faced huge struggles.
In order to get to the bottom of why some businesses fail despite such massive potential, this week’s episode of Thoughtful China features Andrew Lok, founder of advertising company Civilization, and Julia Zhu, founder of China e-commerce consultancy Observer Solutions to discuss what is crucial for Western brands to know when entering the Chinese market, and where Neiman Marcus and eBay went wrong.
Zhu discusses the failed expectations of Neiman Marcus. Despite being a famous department store in the United States, upon setting up shop in China at the end of 2012, the company realized that its popularity did not accompany it. Without appropriate expectations about how soon and fast it could expand, Zhu says its foray into China was “not very successful.”
One piece of advice Zhu has for Western brands is not to underestimate the “great firewall of China.” “Trying to do e-commerce with operations outside of China would probably be the biggest mistake one can make,” she says, using eBay as an example. When the online retailer moved its servers back to the United States from China, many users reported being unable to access their accounts.
Overall, Zhu feels that there are fundamental differences between the habits of Chinese shoppers and those in the West. Online shoppers in Asia are very concerned about counterfeits and thus want as many pictures of the products they’re buying as they can get. Zhu says that the average Western online shopping site only has about three to five pictures of a product, compared with five to seven on a Chinese e-commerce site.
Western brands should carefully research their target audience, Zhu says, and the key to success is to leverage existing established marketplaces in order to conduct marketing efforts according to what the Chinese consumer wants.
In its first five months, the Chinese site generated 66 million yuan ($10.6 million) in sales, Wang Yiqun, Asos China's general manager, said last week in a presentation to the 2014 World Retail Congress China conference in ...
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While several Western retailers have launched e-commerce sites in China to complement their physical stores in that country, Asos Plc became one of the few foreign web-only retailers selling in China when it launched Asos.cn last November. In its first five months, the Chinese site generated 66 million yuan ($10.6 million) in sales, Wang Yiqun, Asos China’s general manager, said last week in a presentation to the 2014 World Retail Congress China conference in Shanghai. “Our business is doing well, but we could have done better. “ Wang said. She said the e-retailer expected strong demand because Chinese consumers already were buying a lot from its English-language U.K. site. “Even before we entered China, Chinese consumers were purchasing 300 million yuan ($48 million) worth of products annually via our main site in the U.K. “ With Asos.cn, Asos now has localized sites in nine countries: the United Kingdom, United States, China, Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Russia. Through its warehouse in Shanghai, where Asos China has its headquarters, the e-retailer delivers within two days to most Chinese cities, Wang said. Asos also offers free return within 14 days and free shipping for orders above 249 yuan ($40.14). Asos stands out as a foreign retailer selling exclusively online; such retailers as U.S.-based Gap Inc. and Tesco Stores of the U.K. sell both through bricks-and-mortar and online stores in China. Like Asos sites in other countries, Asos.cn not only sells Asos-branded products, but also such other brands as European labels Karen Millen and Mango. Besides selling on its official Chinese site, Asos also sells on other Chinese e-retail platform such as Tmall.com, a marketplace site operates by Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., the dominant Chinese e-commerce company that is planning to sell stock on a U.S. exchange this year. To promote its brand, Asos has sought to immerse itself in the daily activities of its target demographic, young Chinese consumers. The company made an alliance with the Midi music festival, which took place in Shanghai in April, and provided tips on what to wearing at the festival through Chinese social networks Weibo and Wechat. Fans who participated in the social media campaign were entered into a lottery for prizes. As a result of this campaign, Asos China increased by 120% its followers on Chinese social media, and the resulting sales exceeded marketing spend 300:1, Wang said. In its first months of selling online in China, Asos has learned about the differences between Chinese and European consumers, Wang tells Internet Retailer. For example, she says, “The European consumer could wear a top for all seasons, but the Chinese consumer wants to purchase clothes specifically for winter,” she says. Sizes are different, as well, with the most common size in Europe being 12 and in China 10, she says. Asos China has designed a line of petite clothing especially for China. In addition, Wang says, evening dress sales have been slow because many Chinese consumers consider the Asos designs too “scanty.” In general, she says, Chinese consumers need to be educated in Western ways of thinking about fashion. “In a survey, we asked Chinese consumers to choose their favorite apparel for different situations, such as working, home and leisure, from 20 clothing styles,” Wang says. “Surprisingly, most Chinese consumers only choose one style for all the occasions.”
Alibaba rival JD.com to top sales target as Chinese shoppers flock to Internet
ReutersA woman walks past a advertisement board of Jingdong Mall (JD.com) in Nanjing, Jiangsu province in this May 7, 2013 file photo. REUTERS/China Daily/Files
By Adam Rose
BEIJING (Reuters) - JD.com, China's second-largest e-commerce site, is set to exceed 100 billion yuan ($16.47 billion) in annual sales for the first time in a market that has drawn investment from global retailing names such as Amazon and Wal-Mart.
Sales volumes will likely eclipse the company's target of 100 billion yuan compared with 60 billion yuan in 2012, JD.com said in a press release on Monday. The smaller rival of China's Alibaba Group Holding Ltd said it has broken even for the first three quarters of the year and may turn profitable at any time, declining to be more specific.
China's business-to-consumer e-commerce sales may surpass $180 billion this year due to a rising Internet penetration rate, expanding middle class incomes and a steadily improving distribution network, according to New York-based market research firm eMarketer.
The country's e-commerce prospects have attracted investment from Wal-Mart, which now owns roughly 51 percent of Chinese e-tailer Yihaodian. Amazon bought e-tailer Joyo.com in 2004, which eventually became Amazon China.
"The market itself is growing, we're also growing our market share," JD.com's Chief Operating Officer Shen Haoyu told Reuters in a telephone interview on Monday. "People are getting more comfortable with buying online."
As a private company, JD.com does not release revenue figures, and would not say if it broke even in previous years.
"We're not making crazy money, but we're not losing crazy money," Shen said.
JD.com, previously known as 360Buy, has done well enough to attract foreign investors.
Over the past six years, it has secured $2.23 billion from investors including the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan and Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal's Kingdom Holding Co, using these funds to expand its logistics network and employ aggressive pricing tactics.
But despite its fast growth, JD.com still stands in the shadow of its main B2C competitor, Alibaba's Tmall, which dominates 51.1 percent of the market, according to Chinese Internet market research firm iResearch. JD.com has 17.5 percent and Amazon China controls just 2.6 percent.
JD.com has tried to differentiate itself by operating its own network of couriers and warehouses, a factor it says ensures timely and efficient delivery. Tmall and Alibaba's online B2B marketplace Taobao still depend on merchants and external courier firms for their logistics.
"If they can continue to build their niche in the market place, because of their reputation for good service, their reputation for good products ... they have firm ground to stand on," said Ben Cavender, principal analyst at China Market Research Group.
But the gap between the two competitors is still large. During a 12-day sale centered around China's equivalent of Cyber Monday, JD.com's turnover reached $1.6 billion, far less than Tmall and Taobao, which had one-day turnover of $5.7 billion combined.
The high-profile cash infusions from abroad have fuelled speculation about a possible initial public offering.
JD.com was valued at $7.3 billion in late 2012 after a round of financing. At the time it denied reports it was planning an IPO before 2013.
In 2011, Thomson Reuters publication IFR reported that an IPO valued at $4-$5 billion was imminent. The sale did not materialize.
On Monday, Shen said JD.com does not have specific plans for an IPO.
"The company will pick the right time to IPO. We'll consider the market situation, we'll consider the company's situation. At this point we don't have specific plans," he said.
The e-tailer is not the only target of speculation.
Shen said the timing of a possible Alibaba IPO is not a factor for JD.com.
quick glance at the crowds in airports, hotels, shopping centers, and tourist destinations is enough to confirm the growing trend of individual Chinese tourists traveling independently around the world.
A recent report by travel intelligence company Skift delves into the topic of individual travelers, and says that “the vast majority of China’s independent tourists—74.4 percent—are between the ages of 25 and 44.”
Hotels.com published a survey that said that more than 60 percent of Chinese outbound tourists prefer to travel individually, rather than as part of a group.
Despite the mounting evidence of newfound independence, the group travel market is not going away, although it is clearly evolving—we are already seeing big changes in the management of Chinese group tours, sizes of tour groups, and prices and exclusivity of tour groups. Some of these developments are results of China’s new tourism laws, while some reflect changes in customer demand.
We expect to see healthy growth in 2014 in both group travel and individual travel to the United States, Europe, and other long-haul destinations from China.
In order to better understand the individual Chinese consumer, China Luxury Advisors will publish a series of columns for Jing Daily profiling different types of independent Chinese travelers and highlighting best practices for reaching these important customers.
Visiting Friends and Family
One of the most common types of individual Chinese travelers is one who is visiting friends and family on the trip. This eases much of the logistical and language challenges for the visitor and makes them more confident and comfortable in traveling alone in a foreign country.
Friends and family living overseas spans a range from second- or third-generation Chinese immigrants who are well entrenched into the local community to recent immigrants who have been purchasing real estate and emigrating or partially emigrating in the past few years as China’s wealth and mobility has rapidly increased for Chinese citizens. Below are two examples of recent visitors in this category:
Consumer profile: A 26 year-old woman from Beijing recently made her third trip overseas, staying in a friend’s apartment and having friends drive her around while she was in town. She visited San Francisco, Seattle, and LA during her trip, and her favorite activities were visiting museums and shopping with friends. While shopping she purchased Kenneth Cole, Henri Bendel, Juicy Couture, Kate Spade, and Tory Burch. Eighty percent of her shopping was for herself, and 20 percent was for gifts. She used Baidu to search for information and shared her experiences through Weibo and WeChat. She is hoping to go to Puerto Rico and Hawaii on her next trips.
Consumer profile: A 25 year-old woman from Shanghai recently visited friends in the United States. This was her fourth trip overseas and her friends “took care of everything” while she was in town, driving her and providing a place to stay. She visited Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and Boston. While traveling, her favorite activities were shopping, traveling with friends, taking pictures, and sharing her travel experiences on WeChat. The top brands she bought were Hermès and Chanel, and 70 percent of her purchases were for herself and 30 percent for gifts for friends and family back home. On her next trip, she hopes to visit Alaska.
Best Practices for Targeting Travelers Visiting Friends and Family
Target local Chinese populations: The most influential source of information for Chinese travelers visiting friends and family is, naturally, their friends and family. It is important for luxury brands to build relationships with local Chinese communities and find ways to reach this audience in creative and meaningful ways. Brands should also make efforts to identify the make-up of their local Chinese population—understanding the nuances between Taiwanese, Hong Kong, and mainland consumers and getting a sense for how long ago they emigrated. In general, recent immigrants (and partial immigrants) from Mainland China tend to be the most affluent and influential with Mainland Chinese travelers.
Social Media: Independent travelers are typically very active on social media during, throughout and after their trip. Sharing photos and experiences is very common among independent travelers and is a central aspect of their experience and enjoyment along the way. Find ways for your brand, location or attraction to be featured in their photos and as a central part of their experience. Online word of mouth is one of the strongest influences for Chinese travelers.
Digital Presence: In addition to social media, independent travelers will be searching for activities, tips and accounts from fellow travelers through both traditional Internet search (which is primarily on Baidu.com, not Google) as well as through the myriad of Chinese travel forums (similar to Trip Advisor). Make sure you have a strategy to address the many options available on the Chinese internet and have adapted your tactics to account for different platforms and usage patterns in China.
Chinese travelers visiting friends and family have two primary sources of information: the Internet (almost exclusively using China-based platforms) and word-of-mouth from friends and family and others who have previously visited. Brands often overlook these informal channels of communication and miss opportunities to be part of this very valuable conversation.
Brands that provide unique experiential opportunities, cute/memorable photo ops and special treatment or limited edition/hard to find products provide critical opportunities to join this highly influential conversation both online and offline.
These approaches require creativity and flexibility in thinking about customer interactions and experiences—but provide significant returns in building buzz and loyalty among Chinese customers.
China's booming and highly competitive e-commerce market gets more interesting all the time, and JD.com is a major player to watch. .... Future Beauty: 30 Years of Japanese Fashion @ SAM | Seattle | Washington | United.
Releasing the company’s financial results for the first half of 2013, chief executive Nick Robertson said the past six months had seen Asos further improve its offer, including investing in product price and quality, enhanced delivery options, a broad range of marketing initiatives, local teams in international territories and continual improvement to its mobile and international technology platforms. These improvements saw retail sales at Asos soar 34 percent to £352.3 million and pretax profit rise 11 percent to £25.7 million. UK retail sales were up 26 percent with international retail sales up 39 percent.
International retail sales now account for 61 percent of total retail revenues, with plans for more international expansion later in the year. Asos went live with its Russian website in May and will follow up with a launch in China in the autumn. While orders placed via the Russian site are fulfilled from the UK, Asos’s Chinese model will be different. Asos is establishing a standalone technology platform, local third-party distribution centre, local delivery solutions and payment methods, and a larger in-country team to support its Chinese operation. The initial Asos China website will contain roughly 10 percent of the full product range, which will expand as the Chinese business grows. Asos expects the setup to cost up to £6 million.
In more Asos news, the online retailer has appointed ByBox to offer a returns service to its 6 million customers. The service will allow online shoppers in the UK to receive and return parcels to convenient locker locations when delivering to the home is either impractical or impossible.
Why are Chinese tourists so rude? A few insightsAfter almost every 'rude Chinese tourist' story, unfortunately, made SCMP.com's top-10 list, I decided to give the question some serious thoughtAmy Li
Tourists holding umbrellas visit Tiananmen Square in Beijing. Photo: Reuters
They are seen as pushy, loud, impolite, unruly, and they are everywhere.
And although destination countries welcome the tourism dollars the Chinese spend, they loathe the chaos and hassle some mainland tourists bring upon their cities and other tourists.
“Why can’t they just behave?” people wonder, some aloud.
I have been asking myself the same question in the past months after reporting on the uncivilised, sometimes galling behaviour of some compatriots.
It seems that every time a “rude Chinese tourist" story is published on SCMP.com, it goes straight into the site's top 10 most read articles - one such article even managed to crawl back to the top months after it was posted. So I decided to give the question some serious thought.
I read up on the topic, talked to tourism experts and travel agents and chatted with some of these tourists who are now at the centre of public anger.
It soon dawned on me that the real question to ask is: “Why are the Chinese rude?”
Yong Chen, tourism researcher and post-doctoral fellow at Hong Kong Polytechnic University, said most “bad” tourists don’t intend to be “bad” or “tourists”, they are just being themselves - they are being Chinese.
Education makes a difference
Not every Chinese tourist is a rude one, and educated people are usually better behaved than those who have had a lower standard of education, said Chen.
This could be why middle-aged or older tourists who have been deprived of or received little education during China's politically tumultuous times tend to act more unruly. Many of them do not speak English, and some are not fluent Putonghua speakers. Their knowledge of the destination country and its culture is often at best outdated or non-existent.
This might explain the behaviour of a "rogue” mainland couple who recently visited Hong Kong with a group. They called the police and demanded HK$3,000 yuan in compensation after being made to wait two hours for their coach. The travel agency later said the coach had broken down and accused them of “blackmailing”.
Disregard for customs and rules
Jenny Wang, a Beijing-based Maldives travel agent, said uneducated tourists usually turn a blind eye to local rules and customs.
A Chinese man who was recently vacationing at a Maldives resort flipped out after discovering that the restaurant where he wanted to eat was fully booked, Wang said. He yelled threats and slurs at Chinese staff until one member was in tears.
“You cannot reason with these kinds of people,” Wang said. “They think they can do anything with their money.”
But one thing many Chinese vacationers don’t want to do with their money is tip - a custom in some places which many have ignored, Wang said.
Though most travel agents in China would educate their clients about tipping in a foreign country ahead of their trip, most people ended up tipping very little or none.
Some are not used to the idea of tipping, and they fail to understand that staff working at the Maldives resorts, who usually earn a meagre salary, rely heavily on tips, Wang said.
This has created increasing tensions between the Chinese and their hosts.Staff would naturally prefer serving guests from countries with a tipping culture. Other staff have gone after Chinese clients and asked openly for tips, a rare thing for them to do in the past.
Lawless for a reason
Students at Ewha University in Seoul, known for its beautiful campus, have recently complained about an influx of Chinese tourists, said the school.
Apparently taking photos on campus was not enough. Some camera-toting Chinese would also stride into libraries and take photos without the permission of students, according to media reports.
“As much as we want to keep the campus open to the local community,” said a university representative, “we’d like to prioritise our students’ right to study in a quiet and safe environment.”
Ewha resolved the crisis by putting up multi-language signs advising tourists to stay clear of study areas.
It seems that thousands of years after Confucius admonished his students not to “impose on others what you yourself don’t desire", the Chinese now act in quite the opposite way.
Such people, both overseas and at home, selfishly skirted rules for a reason, said Chen.
Living in China, where the rule-of-law doesn’t exist, means everyone has to look out for their own interest. It also means people have little or no respect for laws.
This is bound to happen when ordinary folk are forced to watch their laws being violated every day by their leaders, Chen said, citing the Chinese idiom, shang xing xia xiao, meaning “people in lower class follow what their leaders in the upper class do”.
How long do we have to put up with bad tourists?
China and its people are paying a price for the bad behaviour of their tourists.
A poll by the Public Opinion Programme of the University of Hong Kong recently found that the number of Hongkongers holding negative feelings towards Beijing and mainland Chinese is up by about 40 per cent since November.
Following that survey, SCMP.com conducted another online poll on Wednesday, headlined “What makes some Hongkongers dislike mainland China and its people?”
As of noon, more than 50 per cent readers blamed the negative feelings on “ill-behaved tourists”.
“The Chinese government and travel agencies should take the initiative to educate our tourists,” Chen said, urging co-operation from both authorities and private sectors.
While many argue that historically American and Japanese tourists were also criticised for their bad behaviour when they became wealthy enough and traveled abroad for the first time, Chen said the Chinese should not use this as an excuse.
In fact, the Communist Party's Central Guidance Commission for Building Spiritual Civilisation and the China National Tourism Administration have recently issued a 128-character-long rhyme to remind tourists of behaving in a “civilised manner” on the road. The topic has also been a big hit on China's social media, where bloggers discuss and criticise the uncivlised behaviour of their compatriots.
But many are not optimistic that the situation will change any time soon.
“Chinese tourists have a long way to go before they will be respected by the world,” said Wang.
Chinese marketers - indeed, marketers everywhere -- need to "rebuild" corporate structures to align assets. True, "pain from change" is unavoidable. But downward vortex of commoditization will be more difficult to bear.
The most popular luxury brands vary from cities to cities in China.
For example, in sophisticated luxury markets like Shanghai or Beijing, consumers have been exploring commonly known and lesser known brands over the past 5-6 years. However, this will not be the case in some entry level luxury markets like Xi'an.
This infographic made by Smithstreet China is illustrating Chinese fashionistas' favorite luxury brands in different cities in China, based on interview results of 300 luxury consumers throughout China .
Given a role as caregiver of the family, women usually play an especially prominent role in buying things that provide sustenance for
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Given a role as caregiver of the family, women usually play an especially prominent role in buying things that provide sustenance for home and family. That means women have a great deal of influence in the economy as consumers, or a lot of spending power.
Female customers tend view e-commerce or online shopping as a fashionable life style and entertainment. According to a report on Chinese e-commerce market, female online shoppers have overshadowed their male counterparts in terms of spending amount and online shopping frequency, despite that male online shoppers outnumbered female ones. More importantly, women love to share with like-minded people on various aspects of their lives, like relationships, families, babies, among others.
As an active vertical community with high consumption power, women-focused or female community services are becoming the darlings of investors, e-commerce services and advertisers. Mogujie, Lmbang, Dayima and Meet You, four leading Chinese women-focused startups, have received a combined US$285 million of funding from investors in June alone.
Let’s take a look at some interesting companies in this sector (read Part II).
Babytree is a leading Chinese digital resources and community for maternal and childcare services. The company is co-founded by former Google China exec Wang Huainan and former cofounder of EachNet Shao Yibo in 2007. It claimed more than 40 million registered users as of present. The firm has received 150 million yuan ($24.79 million) of strategic investment from Chinese K-12 after-school tutoring service TAL Education (NYSE:XRS) at the beginning of this year.
Meilishuo is a leading Chinese social network focused on women fashion and lifestyle, helping women to find ideal closing and skin care products which are best suited to them. Meilishuo started the business as a Pinterest-style pinboard site which drives traffic to Taobao, China’s largest e-commerce site. Since last year, Meilishuo is transforming into a C2C e-commerce site with more items sold by internal sellers and more inward promotion campaigns. The company stops using Alipay payment since March this year, but seeks more cooperation with WeChat platform. The company now claimed more than 55 million registered users with its app downloads surpassed 75 million.
Mogujie, another well-known domestic fashion guide website, is the biggest rival of Meilishuo in China. Similar to Meilishuo, Mogujie is transforming into an independent marketplace rather than a guiding site that redirects users to Taobao. Taobao started to place restrictions on similar shopping guide services, considering their threats to Taobao’s self-hold advertising business. Mogujie has raised US$200 million in Series D funding from a group of investors at a valuation of US$1 billion this June. The site claimed 80 million users, with 35 million being monthly active on mobile.
4. Meet You
Started as a menstruation period tracing app, Meet You gradually shifted its focus to constructing a female community, where users can discuss and share tips on various topics, like parenting, fashion, keeping fit, relationships, etc. Launched in April 2013, the app now claimed more than 50 million registered users with over 3.5 million active users. The company has raised three funding rounds in one year, including a benchmark US$35 million Series C round received this June.
Dayima is a period tracking and female health app similar to Meet You. Dayima predicts period cycles based on past patterns, offering health tips on avoiding cramps and pre-menstrual syndromes, and links to online forum where users can exchange their experiences on parenting, beauty, etc. Launched in January 2012, Dayima claims it has had 45 million registered users and 3.2 million daily active users. It just announced US$30 million in Series C funding this June.
While China’s luxury retailers have struggled to meet their goals in recent months, the country’s mid-range brands have continued to expand at a record pace, according to a new research report.
Leasing of retail space by fast-fashion brands such as Zara, H&M and Uniqlo has continued to expand in the world’s second-largest economy, despite an overall slowdown in economic growth. The ongoing strong performance by mid-range retailers was revealed in the latest China Retail Property Market Watch report released this week by property consultancy Knight Frank and local partner Holdways.
The report by the two agencies found that the leasing of space in shopping centres by these mid-market brands continued to grow in the second half of 2013. Furthermore, the study found no strong evidence of floor space is being reined in, while mega malls remained a strong feature of the retail landscape, particularly in Tier-Two cities.
Far from shrinking in size in the face of e-commerce, new fast-fashion stores are typically highly spacious, multi-level and take up some of the best locations in local shopping centres, according to the report’s findings. The rise of these brands as mini-anchors for emerging malls coincides with the demise of traditional anchors such as department stores.
While fast-fashion brands have fared well, not all market players met their goals in the second half of 2013.
The Knight Frank report found that developers lacking experience, particularly with oversized centres in peripheral, poorly located areas, found it increasingly find to maintain high occupancy levels and customer traffic. The agency expects this trend to continue to competition for consumers’ kuai intensififes.
The gap between prime centres and non-prime centres is also expected to widen in China, with the market becomingly marked by its increasingly polarity.
A report earlier this year by Knight Frank found that 65 percent of luxury retailers failed to reach their targets for new store openings in 2013.
The slowdown for couture sellers has been in contrast to the success of mid-range fast fashion brands, such as Uniqlo, Zara, H&M and C&A, which increased their total store count by 40 percent from mid-2012 to the end of last year.
Chinese shoppers are set to more than double their current annual clothing spend to £212 billion by 2018, with Western clothing retailers well positioned to take advantage of booming Chinese consumption.
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Chinese clothing spend to double by 2018
5 June 2014 | By Olivia Gagan
Chinese shoppers are set to more than double their current annual clothing spend to £212 billion by 2018, with Western clothing retailers well positioned to take advantage of booming Chinese consumption.
In 2013 Chinese clothing expenditure was £103 billion, a report by consultancy Conlumino says. China, currently the second largest global economy with a population of 1.4bn, has huge potential for western retailers whose mature home markets are offering few opportunities for growth, the report says.
Ecommerce represents a big opportunity for foreign retailers, with online spending on clothing set to account for 20.5% of the total spend by 2018, up from 5.2% last year.
The increase in sales is propelled by young Chinese women adopting Western lifestyles, the research suggests. More Chinese women are working, occupying senior management roles, and putting off having children until their late 20s, resulting in more disposable income to spend on themselves. A growing urban middle class and an increasing trend towards consumerism is also contributing to retail growth in the country.
International mainstream and value-led brands in China are growing fast. Zara, and other Inditex Group brands, will have over 500 stores in China by the end of 2014, and others, such as H&M and Uniqlo, are snapping up additonal retail space. However, other clothing retailers have suffered in the crowded Chinese market: Asos has reported a £9m loss in the territory this year after its launch in October 2013.
Conlumino global research director Maureen Hinton said that retailers should take advantage of increased online connectivity to reach Chinese shoppers. “The growth of the internet and social media have generated global fashion trends and this has made it far easier for international fashion brands to expand. Where once fashion tended to be local, this is no longer the case,” she said.
Luxury shopping travellers like to show off their luxury purchases on social media. Leather goods and ready-to-wear are the most buzzed categories. They gain overseas shopping information from Taobao and social shopping websites. The Weibo accounts of professional overseas buyers play a big role in their information gathering and purchasing. Luxury shopping travellers favor innovative and trendsetting brands. Limited editions and unique designs are very effective methods to stimulate purchase.
Eve Lo, Chief Knowledge Officer, GroupM China said, "Holidaymakers embrace the joy and opportunity offered by travel, and are open to new experiences, providing a great opportunity for brands to offer engagement. Brand marketers must understand the consumers’ passion points and provide a unique experience.”
La Chine en passe de devenir numéro un du commerce en ligneSHANGHAI (Reuters) - Le marché chinois du commerce en ligne devrait devenir dès cette année le premier mondial en termes de dépenses devant les Etats-Unis, selon une étude publiée mercredi par le cabinet de conseil Bain & Company.
D'ici dix ans, les ventes en ligne pourraient représenter la moitié des dépenses de consommation des ménages chinois, contre 6% seulement aujourd'hui, prévoit de son côté le site Taobao, propriété du géant local du "e-commerce" Alibaba et numéro 10 mondial des sites de vente directe entre particuliers.
Le marché du commerce en ligne a enregistré une croissance de 71% par an en moyenne entre 2009 et 2012 en Chine, contre 13% en Amérique, précise l'étude de Bain & Company.
Cette modification du comportement des consommateurs résulte du fait que près de la moitié de la population chinoise (1,3 milliard d'habitants) dispose désormais d'un accès direct à internet. Et parmi eux, près de 80% possèdent un smartphone ou une tablette.
D'ici 2015, les ventes en ligne représenteront un montant global de 3.300 milliards de yuans (400 milliards d'euros environ), précise Bain & Company dans son étude.
L'an dernier, les dépenses sur internet des Chinois ont représenté 212,4 milliards de dollars (159,3 milliards d'euros) contre 228,7 milliards pour les Etats-Unis, ajoute le cabinet.
Alibaba investit dans la société de son ex-interlocuteur chez Yahoo!AFP - Le géant chinois du commerce en ligne Alibaba Group Holding, qui prépare depuis des mois une entrée en Bourse très attendue, va investir dans la société de son ancien interlocuteur chez Yahoo!, affirmait hier lundi 19 août le quotidien New York Times.
Le siège d'Alibaba Alibaba va consacrer environ 75 millions de dollars pour prendre une participation minoritaire dans ShopRunner, une société américaine spécialisée dans l'acheminement de produits commandés sur internet, ajoute le journal, citant une personne proche du dossier.
ShopRunner est la société de Scott Thompson, qui dirigea pendant quelques mois début 2012 le groupe internet américain Yahoo!, avant d'en être évincé après la découverte d'inexactitudes dans son curriculum vitae.
C'est sous la direction de Scott Thompson que se sont déroulées l'essentiel des discussions qui ont conduit à la cession d'une partie de la participation de Yahoo! dans Alibaba, rappelle le New York Times.
Depuis qu'il travaille à son entrée en Bourse, Alibaba a procédé à plusieurs prises de participations: un "investissement stratégique" dans le chinois Qyer (voyages en ligne), 28% du chinois AutoNavi (cartographie) pour 294 millions de dollars, et 18% du réseau social le plus populaire en Chine, Sina Weibo, pour 586 millions de dollars.
Par ailleurs, selon le Wall Street Journal, les dirigeants d'Alibaba discutent avec la Bourse de Hong Kong de la possibilité d'instaurer une structure duale du capital de la société, avec des actions avec droit de vote et des actions préférentielles qui en seraient dépourvues.
Une telle structure, adoptée par des groupes high tech comme Facebook et Google, permettrait au fondateur Jack Ma et à ses cadres de conserver le contrôle de l'entreprise après l'entrée en Bourse.
7476 affb. Kering has successfully launched online stores for six of its luxury brands, thanks to a partnership with leading online luxury business, Yoox. Signed back in 2012 when Kering was still PPR, the deal allows the ...
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