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Period: March 1, 2014 to April 1, 2014
Comment & Opinion or Companies, Organizations or Consumers or Controversies & Disputes or Deals, M&A, JVs, Licensing or Earnings Release or Finance, Economics, Tax or Innovation & New Ideas or Legal, Legislation, Regulation, Policy or Market News or Marketing & Advertising or Other or People & Personalities or Press Release or Products & Brands or Research, Studies, Advice or Supply Chain or Trends

Online Retailers In China Close Stores Selling Brand-Name Cosmetic Knockoffs

In response to customer complaints and a Chinese television report, Amazon China and online retailer China Dangdang have closed online stores purportedly selling fake brand-name skincare products. Dangdang shut two stores and refunded customer payments unconditionally.  Amazon said it had closed the stores in February after receiving complaints from customers. The fake products were knockoffs of L'Oréal and Estée Lauder cosmetics that were priced far lower than the real things. A representative of one of the closed stores admitted that the knockoffs came from a wholesale market in Beijing.

"Amazon, Dangdang shut down online stores selling fake skincare products", Global Times, March 20, 2014

China’s Lax Food Safety Enforcement Drives Western Retailers To Take Action

Inadequate government oversight of the food processing industry in China has forced Western food retailers like Walmart and Carrefour to take inspection matters into their own hands.  Walmart, for example, is boosting supplier inspections after a recent donkey meat recall – the meat turned out to contain fox DNA – and now conducts more DNA tests of meat in China than it does anywhere else in the world. The company expects to spend $16 million over three years to increase food safety in China after being stung by previous scandals there. The FDA is beefing up its inspection presence in China as well. The best solution, however, would be for the Chinese food processing industry to take more responsibility in food safety and for the government to strengthen its enforcement of standards.

"Keeping the Mystery Out of China's Meat", Bloomberg Businessweek, March 20, 2014

Companies, Organizations  

Supermarkets In China Lose Market Share To Online Retailers

Supermarkets in China are facing growing competition from online retailers for their business, according to a report by the Communist Party-managed “Beijing Youth Daily” newspaper. According to the report, e-commerce has changed Chinese consumers’ buying behavior, adversely affecting traditional retailers’ business, with at least 80 percent of supermarkets and other retailers reporting higher management costs and declining gross margins. Since 2012, foreign-owned retailers, such as Wal-Mart, Carrefour, and Tesco, have seen sales slowdown, forcing them to close some of their stores. These companies have focused on selling refrigerated and frozen products, which attract customers and offer higher gross margins; however, online retailers are also seeking to expand their presence in this segment.

"Supermarkets fighting losing battle with China's e-commerce", WantChinaTimes.com, March 18, 2014

Walmart Closes Store In China

Walmart Stores closed a store in Chongqing, China, due to poor sales. With poor site selection being blamed for the store’s anemic turnover, the store closure marks the first for Walmart in the city, which the retailer entered 10 years ago. In November and December 2013, Walmart closed 10 stores across the country, due to poor sales and growing competition from online retailers. China’s online retail market accounted for less than 10 percent of total sales of consumer goods in 2013; however, the market posted 1.89 billion yuan worth in transactions during the year. Also, Walmart is facing serious competition from Chinese retailers.

"Walmart closes store in China", Business Standard, March 05, 2014

Walmart China loses customer confidence

WantChinaTimes.com, March 16, 2014

L'Oreal looking pretty in the Chinese market

China Daily, February 04, 2014

Market News  

Wal-Mart Sets Renovation Plans For China Stores

After opening stores in 28 shopping centers and two Sam’s Club stores in China in 2013, Wal-Mart plans to upgrade 55 existing retail stores in the country in 2014. In Anhui, a market the company entered in 2005 and where it operates 17 stores at present, Wal-Mart plans to invest 18 million yuan in renovating the nine-year-old Shuguang Hefei store. Also, Wal-Mart’s corporate social responsibility efforts in the region have helped it win many government honors and become the internship partner for both the West Anhui Institute and the Science and Technology of Defense Institute.

"Wal-Mart invests in renovation of Chinese stores", FreshPlaza, March 25, 2014

Unilever Buys Majority Stake In Chinese Water Purification Firm

Unilever says it has acquired a majority interest in Qinyuan, a high-tech Chinese water purification company founded in 1998. Unilever says the purchase is its biggest in China in 10 years. Qinyuan is one of the big players in China’s rapidly-expanding water purification market (20 percent annual growth since 2011). The company’s 2013 sales were 140 million euros ($194 million). With 2,500 employees, Qinyuan makes water purifiers, drinking water equipment and water treating membranes. A Unilever spokesman said the deal would double its water purification business.

"Unilever buys majority share in China water business", Yahoo! News, March 09, 2014

Premiumisation remaining a bright spot in China

Kantar World Panel (China), March 27, 2014

Keeping the Mystery Out of China's Meat

Bloomberg Businessweek, March 20, 2014

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