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Period: September 1, 2018 to November 1, 2018
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

Alibaba Deploys Blockchain Pilot To Ensure Food Authenticity

Alibaba is testing blockchain technology to track products and ensure food authenticity. It is working with two food products, one from Australia and one from New Zealand – and giving consumers the ability to scan a QR code to verify product authenticity. Fake food has long been a problem in China and Michigan State University estimates it costs the global food industry $40 billion per year.  First announced in March 2017, the goal of this blockchain integration is to “achieve end-to-end supply chain traceability and transparency to enhance consumer confidence and build a trusted environment for cross-border trade,” said Alibaba.  Investment in blockchain technology has doubled to $2.1 billion and industry projections see that expenditure reaching $9.7 billion in 2021, according to reports from IDC. Numerous firms, such as Alibaba’s industry rival JD, are also delving into blockchain tech to streamline the supply chain, auditing, and compliance processes.

"Alibaba rolls out blockchain pilot to tackle fake food products", Tech in Asia, April 30, 2018

KFC Initiative On Single-Use Plastic in Macau and Hong Kong

KFC outlets in Hong Kong and Macau will stop automatically giving out plastic straws and lids for customers eating in the store, but will provide them if asked. They will also be added to takeaways and select items. KFC made the decision following a trial in which most customers were happy not to have a plastic straw or lid. Greenpeace has acknowledged the move but added that plastic straws and lids are just a fraction of the plastic disposables used by the chain. The environmental group estimates that KFC uses some 42 million plastic disposable items each year, but even this is less than some local chains, according to Greenpeace.

"KFC to ditch plastic straws and drink lids for dine-in customers in all of its Hong Kong and Macau restaurants", South China Morning Post , September 07, 2018

Aesthetic Hydration Cosmetic Opens Shanghai Pop-Up Store, Marks Coming Into China Market

South Korean skincare brand Aesthetic Hydration Cosmetic has unveiled a pop-up store in Shanghai, marketing the company’s official entry into China’s beauty care market. According to AHC, its cosmetics products are being sold at health and beauty stores across China, as well as in online shopping malls in the country. With the pop-up store offering customers the chance to experience the company’s leading products, AHC said it will target women in the country with its leading moisturizing products.

"S. Korean skincare brand AHC officially enters China", Pulse by Maeil Business News Korea , September 12, 2018

China’s Millennials Fall In Love With Black Tech Beauty Products

Skincare trends, referred to by industry observers as “black tech”, are becoming popular among millennial consumers in China. Three of the leading black-tech product categories are black-tech facial machines, with the ReFa Electronic Roller from Japan as a leading example; black-tech facial cleansers, such as those from Foreo; and black-tech massage boosters, including those from the SK-II brand. Facial rollers from ReFa accounted for 50 percent of the segment’s revenue in 2017, with more than $4 million worth of ReFa machines sold during the November 11 Singles Day shopping festival. Foreo’s facial cleanser became a social media favorite, with many celebrities posting themselves using the product. SK-II launched a massage booster in 2017, selling all of its 10,000 units during the company’s 2017 TMALL Super Brand Day event.

"Chinese Millennial Skincare Gets a Black Tech Makeover", Jing Daily, September 14, 2018

Market News  

Coca-Cola Hopes To Make The Most Of Growing Chinese Interest In Functional Drinks

The head of Coca-Cola’s China business says “the next big thing” among Chinese consumers – especially the growing class of middle-income consumers – is functional beverages beneficial for health and wellness. With that in mind, the company expects to offer more juice products, beverages containing fiber, and even drinks based on traditional Chinese medicine, according to Curt Ferguson. Coca-Cola began riding the trend when it rolled out new products like sugar-free Sprite with fiber in March, two RTD tea products in North China and South China in the second quarter, and a bottled water range containing fiber in June. A fiber-rich Coca-Cola Plus version for China debuted in August. Bottled water, RTD tea, carbonates, juice drinks, and functional drinks were the biggest sellers in the $84 billion Chinese beverage industry. 

"Coca-Cola embarks on 'healthy' growth route", China Daily, August 30, 2018

Marketing & Advertising  

Coca-Cola Offers Customized Beverage Bottles, Gift Boxes On China’s Tmall

Coca-Cola is launching customized bottle and gift box production on Alibaba's Tmall. The company’s custom-made gift boxes will be limited globally to 30,000 bottles. At the consumers can customize bottles and gift boxes according to their tastes. Peach, lemon, vanilla and classic flavors can be included in the gift box for Tmall. Consumers can match and combine the two or four bottles for the gift boxes, and use the limited stickers of the gift box to further personalize it. Coca-Cola said this is the first time it has applied C2B customization. 

"Coca-Cola to launch C2B customized drink for Tmall’s customers on double 11", China Knowledge , October 17, 2018

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