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China Business Insight Alert Archive

Have a look at some of our recent alerts. These give broad coverage of the industry - if you want something more specific create your own here.

<<1234567>> Total issues:69

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July 01, 2015, to September 01, 2015

Co-founders Of Walmart's China E-commerce Venture Resign

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said the co-founders of its Yihaodian e-commerce business in China will leave the company. Citing plans to pursue new ventures, Yu Gang and Liu Junling are resigning as chairman and chief executive, respectively, of the online retailer. Wal-Mart holds a 51 percent stake in Yihaodian, which represents the American retailer's efforts to expand its online business in China. After the founders' departure, Wal-Mart is expected to expand its role in running the company, which for years has resisted the retail giant's efforts to consolidate the companies' logistics operations.

L'Oreal Agrees To Connect Yichang Factory To Hydropower

L'Oreal signed an investment deal to expand and connect to hydropower its Yichang plant in China. Part of the strategic agreement between the company and the Yichang government, the project will help L'Oreal's factory to use clean and renewable energy. By end of 2015, the Yichang plant will become the company's first factory in Asia-Pacific to become carbon-footprint neutral. One of the company's most sustainable factories, the Yichang plant has reduced CO2 emissions by 45 percent from 2005 to 2014.

Tesco Data Analysis Unit Dunnhumby Partners With Chinese Grocery Chain

As British retail grocer Tesco finalizes plans to divest several of its businesses, one of the units on the auction block, data analyst Dunnhumby, has cemented a joint venture relationship with a large Chinese supermarket chain. Dunnhumby will partner with China Resources Vanguard, which operates 4,000 shops in Hong Kong and mainland China. The partnership will give Dunnhumby access to shopper data in a rapidly-expanding market that includes 20 million Vanguard loyalty card users. It also gives the company an opportunity to work with other retailers. Several industry and private equity buyers have expressed interest in acquiring Dunnhumby’s. Final bids are due in early September.

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June 01, 2015, to July 01, 2015

Estee Lauder Cuts Prices Of Imported Products In China

Estee Lauder Companies said it will cut the prices of its products in China, in support of the government's move to lower import tariffs. Although the import tariff cut is not expected to have a significant impact on retail prices, the company said it believes the new policy will help promote domestic consumption. L'Oreal SA also announced plans to reduce prices of imported products in the country.

Chinese Luxury Goods Brands Grew Faster Than Foreign Counterparts, DTT's 2015 Report Shows

China's luxury goods companies grew 33.4 percent, significantly outpacing their foreign rivals, according to the “2015 Global Powers of Luxury Goods” report by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu. Data from the report revealed similar companies in the United States grew 9.4 percent, while UK brands posted 11.1 percent during the period. Of the top 100 fastest-growing luxury-goods companies, seven came from Hong Kong and China, and accounted for as much as 11.3 percent of the total sales. Leading sellers of luxury goods include LVMH Moet Hennessy-Louis Vuitton from France, with $21.76 billion in sales, followed by Swiss company Compagnie Financiere Richemont in second place and The Estee Lauder Companies Inc. from the United States, in third.

Kao Opens Shanghai Plant For Making Shampoo And Cosmetics Ingredients

Kao invested 5 billion yen to build a manufacturing plant in Shanghai, which will produce key ingredients for shampoo and cosmetics. Bringing Kao's chemical production plants in China to a total of three, the facility will produce ingredients aimed at the market for environment-friendly products. With a total production area of 83,000sq m, the factory will help Kao's product development efforts for the China market.

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May 01, 2015, to June 01, 2015

China Cuts Tariff On Imported Consumer Goods

China's Ministry of Finance announced its plan to reduce import duties by half, on average, on imports ranging from cosmetics to fur garments by June 1, 2015. Aimed at promoting local consumption, the tariff cuts would include those on cosmetics, which will drop from 5 percent to 2 percent and diapers, from 7.5 percent to 2 percent. Data from market research firm Mintel showed 90 percent of Chinese consumers who traveled overseas in 2014 purchased personal-care products and cosmetics, 85 percent bought clothes and footwear, and 64 percent bought baby food or baby-care products.

Shiseido Seeks To Revive Sales In China After Revenue Drop In FY 2014

Shiseido announced a three-year plan the company hopes will help it revive its business performance in China. In fiscal 2014, the company saw its Chinese unit post the sharpest sales decline among its international operations. For the fiscal year ending in March 2015, sales in China dropped 4.8 percent on fixed foreign exchange rate, and 2.9 percent in Japanese yen. For the period 2015‒2017, the company targets 9 percent in average sales growth, as part of its Vision 2020 medium- to long-term strategy.

Walmart China Tests Comprehensive O2O E-Commerce Platform

Walmart hopes to boost sales performance in China by making it very easy for smartphone customers to shop, select, pay for and pick up purchases in stores using a comprehensive “Walmart to Go” O2O (“online to offline”) e-commerce platform. The pilot program is being tested in 23 stores in the city of Shenzhen, just north of Hong Kong in Guangdong Province. Using either an iOS or Android smartphone app, shoppers can access more than 10,000 products, including fresh/dairy/frozen, grocery, health, beauty and household chemical items. Walmart China CEO Sean Clarke said the O2O program will make Walmart “the most trusted omni-channel retailer in China.”

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April 01, 2015, to May 01, 2015

Alibaba Launches E-commerce Stock Tracking Index

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and its Ant Financial Services Group launched the CSI Taojin Big Data 100 Index, an e-commerce stock tracking index. Part of the company's efforts to become a full-fledged Internet financial services operator. Also, the company plans to launch MYbank online bank in June 2015, following the launch of rival Tencent Holdings Ltd's Internet bank WeBank in January 2015.

L'Oreal Says China Sales Grew 7.7 Percent In 2014

L'Oreal reported sales in mainland China grew 7.7 percent to 14.3 billion yuan, or $2.31 billion, in 2014, compared with the previous year. According to the French cosmetics company, 2014 marked the 18th consecutive year of growth in the country, the second-largest cosmetics market in the world. L'Oreal China CEO Alexis Perakis-Valat said his company's growth in China was driven by increased investment in research and innovation, online sales growth, channel expansion, and the contribution of the MAGIC mask brand.

Foreign Retailers Finding China A Hard Market To Crack, Report Shows

Foreign supermarket and hypermarket chains are struggling to cope with rapid changes in China's retail market, according to industry analysts. Still dealing with the effects of food safety scandals, Walmart said it plans to stop sales declines by increasing the number of its stores by more than 25 percent, upgrading existing stores, and launching a new online shopping app. Tesco's real estate venture failed, prompting the UK retailer to enter into a joint venture with local retail giant China Resources Enterprise. Local retailers also experienced negative growth since 2010, according to consulting firm OC&C, with competition from online retailers often cited as one of the biggest threats to brick-and-mortar operators.

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March 01, 2015, to April 01, 2015

China's Cosmetics Contain Legal Levels Of Toxic Chemicals

In China, some skincare products contain toxic chemicals in amounts within regulated limits, according to the Beijing Consumer Association. Results of the study conducted by the group revealed some of the products contained antiseptics, arsenic, mercury, formaldehyde, and other toxic substances. Mercury is commonly found as an active ingredient in skin-whitening lotions and was found in samples of Sekkisei Supreme Revitalizing Cream I, Watsons Collagen Moisturizing and Whitening Facial Lotion, as well as in lip balms manufactured by Guerlain, Givenchy, and Shu Uemura.

Demand For Korean Cosmetics In Chinese-Speaking Countries Keeps Rising, Study Shows

Nielsen said 40 percent of consumers in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore who bought Korean beauty products were planning to spend more in the next months. Results of the market research firm's survey of 1,900 women in these countries revealed six of 10 consumers have only recently discovered Korean beauty brands in the past two years. Data also revealed that among the respondents, the leading reason for the popularity of Korean cosmetics was the perception that Korean-made beauty products were “new and trendy.” Consumer preference for buying cosmetics from conventional outlets, such as department stores and duty-free stores, has made South Korea a top travel destination among Chinese-speaking consumers.

China's Economy In 2015 Mirrors U.S. In 2008

Economic conditions in China in 2015 look like those in the United States in 2008, according to market analysts. In March, China's government lowered its 2015 GDP growth target to around 7 percent, its lowest in 11 years, compared with 7.4 percent in 2014. A slowdown in the real estate market, overcapacity at factories, and growing local debt are weighing down China's economy. China's central bank cut interest rates twice since November 2014, and allowed its banks to increase lending volumes. According to Gabriel Investments managing partner Richard Vague, the country is forecast to have its largest budget deficit since the international financial crisis this year.

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January 01, 2015, to March 01, 2015

Walmart Sends Veteran Exec To China To Restore Reputation

Walmart is trying to polish its image in “critical market” China after damaging news reports about questionable accounting, inventory and food-safety practices. The company named veteran Walmart employee Maggie Sans as senior vice president and chief corporate affairs officer in China to help improve its reputation. A story published by Bloomberg News in December showed that Walmart’s China unit had for years engaged in unauthorized sales and accounting practices that made the business appear healthy in the midst of an actual slowdown in retail transactions.

AmorePacific Expects China Sales To Grow 30 Percent In 2015

South Korean cosmetics company AmorePacific Group said it expects sales in China to grow 30 percent in 2015. In 2014, China sales grew 21 percent to 4.7 trillion won, or $4.3 billion, the company reported on February 2, 2015. AmorePacific is expanding its channel in the country to grab a bigger share of China's middle-class market. In 2020, China is expected to account for 30 percent of the company's total sales, up from 8.6 percent in 2013.

Henkel Opens Management Center In Shanghai

Henkel opened its new Henkel Management Center office complex in Shanghai. Designed to promote a “culture of cooperation and transparency,” the facility houses more than 300 executives and employees from the company's Corporate Communications, Purchasing, HR, and other departments. It features meeting rooms for groups of various sizes, focus rooms for individual work, and other areas for less structured interactions among employees.

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December 01, 2014, to January 01, 2015

Walmart’s Problems In China Have Deep Roots

A Bloomberg analysis of internal Walmart documents related to its business in China, as well as information gathered from employees, tell a tale of long-developing problems in the country, including questionable accounting, unauthorized sales practice and severe inventory problems. Some stores, for example, were booking sales when no merchandise left the shelves. Some stores were routinely making unauthorized bulk sales to other retailers. After years of crowing about its success in the region, the company finally admitted in August its operations in China have been in serious trouble. The revelation led to a management shake-up and cuts in staff.

KFC Launches PR Campaign In China To Prove Its Operations Are Hygienic

After a food safety scare at one of its Chinese suppliers, KFC has invited fried chicken lovers in the country – the biggest market for parent company Yum Brands -- to come and see for themselves that the restaurant chain maintains high standards of hygiene. The problem arose when a TV report alleged that workers at a KFC chicken supplier were adding expired meat to products. Customers can book a tour showing employee hand-washing, clean cooking oil, safe chicken raising practices, and use of purified water.

Heinz Opens High Tech Baby Cereal Factory In Southern China

Heinz announced the opening of a $70 million 80,000 square meter baby cereal factory in China’s Guangdong Province. The company says it’s the largest such factory in the world, and is the seventh Heinz manufacturing facility in the country. The state-of-the-art factory is a showcase of advanced technologies, including drum dryers, powder handling systems and packaging machinery from global companies like Andritz Gouda, GEA Group, and Bosch. The technologies will not only speed production, they will ensure the most stringent quality controls, the company said, completely isolating allergens, from raw material storage to the production process.

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November 01, 2014, to December 01, 2014

China’s Poor Food Handling Systems Lead To Huge Amounts Of Waste

Thanks to lower prices -- the cost to import grain has dropped 30 percent in the last two years -- China is importing much more this year than last year. But a major problem persists: China wastes vast amounts of grain and other foods. The country discards 35 million metric tons a year because of faulty storage, transportation and processing systems. A government grain official told China Daily that the discarded grain could feed 200 million people for a year, a ”shameful” situation. Inferior food storage systems have led to the spoilage of large quantities of fruit, vegetables, and meat.

Wal-Mart Slims Down Management Ranks Of China Unit

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it is eliminating almost 30 director and midlevel management jobs in China as part of the retailer's efforts to reduce costs and improve declining sales in the country. Retail sales in China grew 12 percent in the first 10 months of 2014, compared with 13 percent in the previous year, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. Wal-Mart, which has about 400 stores in the country, reported sales dropped 0.8 percent in the third quarter of 2014.

Wal-Mart's July Quarter Sales Hurt By China's Austerity Drive

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said same-store sales in China decreased 1.6 percent for the quarter ending July 2014, compared with the same period in 2013. Wal-Mart Asia president Scott Price said the decline in sales was caused by lower sales of gift cards, moon cakes, and other products commonly used in gift giving in the country. China's campaign against lavish spending is discouraging government and business leaders from buying expensive goods. Also, growing competition from local retailers and e-commerce companies is also hurting Wal-Mart's revenue in the country.

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September 01, 2014, to November 01, 2014

Unilever Says Weak Demand In China Hurts 3Q 2014 Sales

Unilever said sales grew 2.1 percent in the third quarter of 2014, weaker than analysts' 3.7 percent growth forecast. According to the company, sales in China dropped 20 percent after retailers reduced their stocks due to slowing demand. The slowdown in China adversely affected the company's global sales, Unilever CEO Paul Polman said. Sales volume rose 0.3 percent, compared with the 1.8 percent growth expected by analysts.

Wal-Mart Says It Will Open Its First Shopping Mall In China

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it plans to build its first community shopping center in China. To be built in the city of Zhuhai in Guangdong province, the shopping center will be named The Zhuhai Mall and is forecast to cost 600 million yuan, or $97.9 million. It will occupy a total area of 100,000 square meters and will include at least one Sam’s Club store, according to Walmart China.

Tesco Weighs Exiting Asian Retail Market

Tesco is planning to sell its Asian operations after seeing its profit and market share decline. Richard Broadbent resigned as chairman of the world's third-largest retailer following reports of a probe into the company's alleged accounting improprieties, which saw the company inflating profit announcements. Mistakes in international investments by Tesco, which posted a 41 percent drop in operating profits and more than 90 percent in pre-tax profits in the first half of 2014, also played a significant role in the company's existing problems, according to Planet Retail analyst David Gray. In May 2014, Tesco sold most of its China operations to state-owned China Resources Enterprise.

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August 01, 2014, to September 01, 2014

Excessive Lead In Baby Cereal Sold In China Prompts Heinz Recall

Food safety officials in China’s Zhejiang province found “excessive amounts of lead” in 1,472 boxes of U.S. food maker H.J. Heinz’s AD Calcium Hi-Protein Cereal for babies, prompting a recall. The company, which issued an apology to customers, said it would recall four batches of the cereal as a precautionary measure. Safety officials urged Heinz to compensate customers who had purchased the tainted cereal.

Etude House Opens China Flagship Store In Shanghai

South Korean cosmetics company AmorePacific’s low-cost brand Etude House opened its China flagship store in Shanghai on August 8, 2014. Featuring the theme “Princess Palace,” the store includes a “pink carpet,” a “Princess Mirror,” and “Pink Castle” shelves. Also, the store features a professional make-up artist ready to help shoppers who want to have a taste of the latest Korean make-up trends.

Chinese Shoppers See California As An Exporter Of High-Quality Foods

Food shoppers in China and Hong Kong are paying closer attention to nutrition, sustainability, safety and – logically enough – country of origin, a fact that is driving demand for better quality food products. That’s good news for California food exporters, who are perceived by the Chinese as high quality producers. California has exported about $4 billion worth of food products – fresh produce, health foods, organic foods and premium wines – to Hong Kong and China so far in 2014, a nearly 20 percent increase over 2012. Forecasters see a similar double-digit increase by the end of the year.
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