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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.

<<3456789>> Total issues:68

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May 01, 2013, to June 01, 2013

Alliance Boots Acquires Minority Stake In Nanjing Pharmaceutical, Aims For Pole Position In Consolidation Of China's Retail Market

Alliance Boots acquired a minority stake in Nanjing Pharmaceutical, the fifth largest pharmaceutical wholesaler in terms of sales in China. Stefano Pessina, Alliance Boots executive chairman who led the sale of a stake in the retailer to United States-based pharmacy chain Walgreens, said China's retail market is poised for further consolidation. After selling 45 percent of Alliance Boots to Walgreen for about $6.5 billion, Pessina is looking forward to the second phase of the deal with the American retailer, which has the option to acquire the remaining 55 percent of the company for about $9.5 billion more in cash and shares and assumption of outstanding debt.

Germany's Metro Plans To Open More Retail Stores In China In 2013

Germany-based retailer Metro Cash & Carry said it plans to open 12 stores in China in 2013, after an equally rapid expansion in the previous year. Believing that the recent economic slowdown in China is not part of the overall trend, Metro said it will focus on opening in more locations in the country. While Metro China, which reported a 23 percent growth in revenue to €1.89 billion in 2012, is expanding its operations, other major retailers have put on hold or scaled down their expansion plans because of slowdown in growth.

Boost In Chinese Household Income Spurs “Trading Up” Trend

Growing buying power is giving Chinese consumers the desire – and the ability –  to buy goods and services that are a notch or two above the ordinary in terms of price and quality, Nielsen research finds. The average annual household income in China increased from $1,022 to $3,999 between 2000 and 2012 – a fourfold increase. At first this trading-up-to-premium trend was reflected in smaller purchases, like more expensive yogurt drinks. But it has grown to include all categories of FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods), “ from infant baby formula to liquid milk, from a bottle of skin moisturizer to a tube of toothpaste.” And sales of luxury cars have tripled since 2007.

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April 01, 2013, to May 01, 2013

Unilever Launches Dove Men+Care Line Of Men's Care Products In China Via 360buy.com

Unilever's Dove brand launched the Dove Men+Care line of personal care products for men in China via online retailer 360buy.com on April 15, 2013. Dove said the product line outsold all other products in the same category at 360buy.com during its first week of release. Also, Dove Men+Care products the company claims are designed to meet men's skincare requirements that are different from those of women, including skin that is more oily, more prone to sweating, and men's tendency to take shorter and faster baths.

Yum Brands Faces Double Food-Safety Whammy In China

Yum Brands reported operating profit at its China operations feel 41 percent year over year in the first quarter of 2013, which contributed to an 8 percent drop in earnings per share. Publicized reports about food safety problems at the end of 2012 focusing on excessive use of antibiotics by the company's suppliers in China caused most of the revenue decline. Although shares of the company stock rose 7 percent after the public had forgotten much of the scandal, an outbreak of avian flu in China's Yangtze River Delta region poses another serious problem for the fast-food giant.

Hardcore Customers Lift Bottomline Of China's Biggest Online Retailer

China's online retailer Taobao reported that 1.08 million out of its 500 million registered customers are considered hardcore customers. According to data from the company, hardcore customers, also referred to as "hands-chopping customers", make at least 10 online transactions each month. These customers buy goods worth over 50,000 yuan or $7,981 each year. Men outspend women customers online one-to-two, according to Taobao manager Li Yan. In addition to hardcore online shoppers, there are 11 other types of customers who buy from Taobao, the company said. These include the 22.8 million people who usually shop online between 11:00 in the evening and 5:00 in the morning and are referred to as "night fighters" and the 1.3 million who are called "hoarders" and who like to buy goods enough to last for a year.

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February 01, 2013, to April 01, 2013

Global Consumer Buying Trends Stifle Juice Sales

Global juice sales grew two percent in 2012, but that’s a slip from the three percent growth experienced during the previous five years, according to researcher Euromonitor. Sales of juices dropped in three of the top ten global markets, including the United States (a five percent drop). High prices have suppressed  per-capita consumption significantly. Other negative factors: fierce competition from energy drinks and beverages offering “well-defined functionality”, and consumer concerns about sugar consumption. A more positive picture emerges in the developing countries, though growth is still “bumpy”. Per-capita purchases are down in key countries because of the availability of fresh juices. Nevertheless, growth opportunities abound for beverage manufacturers, Euromonitor says.

Estée Lauder Plans Large Expansion In Asia

Estée Lauder said it plans to hire thousands more staff in the next seven years in Asia as part of the cosmetics company’s expansion of its retail operations in the region. Company chairman William Lauder said the cosmetics manufacturer gets 42 percent of its revenue from the United States, while 37 percent comes from Europe, Middle East, and Africa. Asia-Pacific accounts for 21 percent. Online sales account for only a small part of the company’s sales, with retail stores and beauty salons being responsible for majority of total sales. While men’s grooming products account for only 5 percent of sales, the segment is expected to see stable growth, according to Lauder.

Carrefour's Shanghai Stores Feature QR Code-Scanning Service, Ensure Food Safety

Carrefour said shoppers at its stores in Shanghai, China, now can trace the chain-supply history of vegetables and fruits on sale by scanning the Quick Response codes of products using their smartphones. Information that consumers can see include production place and date and business license of suppliers. The QR code platform is part of Carrefour’s food safety efforts in China, which include purchasing agricultural products directly from farms.

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December 01, 2012, to February 01, 2013

Johnson & Johnson Buys Shanghai-based Baby Supplies Vendor Elsker

Johnson & Johnson acquired Shanghai, China-based Elsker, a competitor in the baby supplies market. Established in 2006, Eslker grew from a 5 million yuan company to earn 300 million yuan in 2011. Elsker’s sales grew 70 percent year over year to about 500 million yuan in 2012. Johnson & Johnson’s purchase of Elsker was aimed at protecting its market share, according to some analysts.

Procter & Gamble, Kimberly-Clark Expand Diaper Business In Asia

Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark are expanding their operations in Asia's diaper market. P&G opened a manufacturing plant in China, which is part of the company's $1 billion investment plan for the country. Kimberly-Clark, after leaving the European diaper market behind, decided to expand its diaper manufacturing operations in Nanjing, China. Compared with Europe, where fertility rates are below 1.5 percent, India has more than 100 million children in the age range of 0–4 years, while China has just slightly fewer than 100 million. Low market penetration of baby care products is a significant hurdle for P&G and Kimberly-Clark; however, improving economic conditions in the region means will likely raise demand in the future.

Male Consumers, Economic Rebound Help Drive Growth In China's Luxury Goods Market

Male consumers account for about 55 percent of the luxury goods market in China, according to brokerage firm CLSA. The trend helps drive a recovery in sales of luxury goods vendors, such as Burberry Group PLC and LVMH. Also, the market benefits from the gift-giving culture in China; however, luxury goods companies face potential sales swings because men are less likely to buy during economic slowdowns. Also, China’s economy rebounded to 7.9 percent growth in the fourth quarter following seven quarters of decline, helping push growth in the luxury goods market.

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November 01, 2012, to December 01, 2012

Emerging Markets To Account for 75 Percent Of Unilever's Revenue By 2020, CEO Says

Unilever PLC chief executive officer Paul Polman said emerging markets will account for 75 percent of the company’s revenue by 2020, up from the 55 percent in 2012. Polman, who visited India to open the company’s global enterprise support and information technology innovation center in the country, also said about 85 percent of Unilever’s growth comes from emerging markets. Unilever is constructing 27 or 28 factories worldwide, with most of them in emerging markets.

China's Animal Testing Requirement Keeps Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Firms Away

China’s policy requiring cosmetics to be tested on animals before they are allowed to be sold in the country prevents some cosmetics companies, which are against animal testing, from entering the market. The Body Shop, for example, has refrained from expanding in to China to avoid violating the company’s cruelty-free policies. In the Philippines, The Body Shop launched its Christmas line of skincare products for 2012.

Growth In Domestic Sales Shows China's Cosmetics Market Strong Despite Drop In Imports

Retail sales of cosmetics in China grew 16.5 percent to reach 107.7 billion yuan ($17.3 billion) in the first 10 months of 2012, according to data from the country’s National Bureau of Statistics. This shows that China’s cosmetics market is still growing despite the decline in cosmetics imports revealed by the China Luxury Report 2012. Also, the market’s leading international companies, such as Estee Lauder Companies Inc., Mary Kay Inc., and Shiseido Group, have announced significant expansion plans in the country. Euromonitor International Ltd.’s Beauty and Personal Care in China 2012 report, which looks at multinationals operating in the China cosmetics market, showed Estee Lauder has launched Osiao, a brand designed for Chinese consumers.

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October 01, 2012, to November 01, 2012

Tesco, Other Foreign Retailers Struggle In China's Retail Market

Foreign-owned retailers, including Tesco Plc and Wal-Mart Stores Inc., are slowing down their expansion plans in China. Tesco is closing down stores and opening new ones more slowly as Chinese consumers prefer to shop in local stores and as the country's economy slows down. Wal-Mart is also adopting a more cautious approach to expanding in China's $560 billion grocery industry. Local retail chains, such as Sun-Art, Yonghui Superstores Co., and China Resources Enterprise Ltd., are performing strongly in smaller cities, making it more difficult for foreign retailers to compete in tiers 2 and 3 cities.

“Virtual” Grocery Shopping Takes Off In China

A Chinese retailer has launched 1,000 “virtual” 3-D supermarkets at “iconic landmark locations” in the metropolitan areas of Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Items at these “stores” can be purchased online using Yihaodian’s Virtual Store App; the purchases are then delivered to homes later in the day. Each virtual store offers as many as 1,000 items and offers promotional discount coupons and gift vouchers. Similar program are being tested in the U.K. and the U.S. Tesco created an online program for its HomePlus brand and offers virtual shopping in subway stations in South Korea.

Asia Drives Growth In Worldwide Men's Skincare Market, Report Says

The Asia-Pacific region accounted for almost 60 percent of worldwide sales of men's skincare products, a rapidly expanding segment of the $33 billion male grooming industry, according to Euromonitor International. Data shows men in China, Japan, and South Korea are the region's biggest spenders on skincare products. Also, men in Asia and Brazil are spending more on skin care, and are likely to overtake the United States as the world's largest market in three years. Euromonitor also reported that the global market for male grooming products grew at an average annual rate of 6.0 percent for the past five years, leaving plenty of room for growth.

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September 01, 2012, to October 01, 2012

Estee Lauder's Price-Cutting Move Puts Marketers' Pricing Strategies In China Under Scrutiny

Estee Lauder's reduction of the prices of its Clinique cosmetics in China attracted attention into foreign companies' pricing strategies for their products in China and overseas markets. Estee Lauder said the price cut was part of efforts to narrow the price gap between China and other markets, and to promote local consumption and improve its ability to compete in the market. The rise of the Internet and how it provides consumers with access to information have limited marketers' ability to implement discriminative pricing.

Men Have Lots Of Options In Fighting Skin Aging

There are many anti-aging treatments and products designed for men’s skin, which ages differently from how women’s skin does. Men’s skin is affected by age, lifestyle, environment, food, and overall health, according to Shiseido senior training manager, Mandy Leung. Although men’s skin ages more slowly than women’s skin, when it begins aging, it does so at a much faster rate and with more visible signs, such as lines and wrinkles, oversized pores, and loss of firmness. Also, men have oilier skin, which continues producing oil longer than women’s skin. For men with tired or dull skin, products that cleanse and hydrate properly are recommended, while products that reduce the impact of shaving are also helpful.

Reckitt Benckiser Expands Digital Marketing In China

Reckitt Benckiser is expanding its digital marketing in China. In April 2012, the company appointed former Volkswagen executive Jacob Tang as head of its digital marketing operations. Also, the company has created online campaigns for the Durex brand of condoms, using social media sites in the country. Reckitt Benckiser plans to increase the portion of its digital marketing budget going to mobile marketing in 2013, with planned initiatives including tapping local mobile ad networks.

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July 01, 2012, to September 01, 2012

Johnson & Johnson Looks At Acquiring Baby-Care Vendor In China

Johnson & Johnson is reportedly considering buying baby-care products company Shanghai Elsker, which could help expand its presence in China’s fast growing baby-care market. Considering the rapid rate of expansion of China’s baby-care market, it makes a lot of sense for Johnson & Johnson to acquire Shanghai Elsker. Founded in 2006, Shanghai Elsker manufactures baby-care products and imports popular brands from Denmark and sells them in China.

Foreign Consumer Goods Companies Face Stiffer Competition From Local Counterparts In China

Foreign consumer goods companies are faced with growing competition from local manufacturers in China, where the market for beauty and personal care products is forecast to grow 12 percent to 203 billion yuan ($32 billion) in 2012, and home care products to rise 11 percent to 78 billion yuan ($12.2 billion), according to Euromonitor. Local brands are closing the so-called quality gap with products manufactured by foreign companies. For example, in 2011, Procter & Gamble’s share in the local toothpaste market declined from 20.8 percent to 19.7 percent, while a Chinese herbal toothpaste’s share of the market rose to 8.8 percent from 1.1 percent five years ago. Unilever’s Zhonghua brand’s market share fell from 12.0 percent to 9.9 percent. Hengan International Group Co. grabbed a 10.6 percent share of the market for tissues and hygiene products, taking the lead from Procter & Gamble, which accounted for 10.5 percent of the market.

Tesco Plans To Close Four Supermarkets, Realigns Operations In China

Tesco plans to shut down four supermarkets in China as part of its strategic adjustment in the country. Industry analysts described the closure as a response to the slowdown in China’s retail market and as a sign that foreign retailers’ business model is not suited to the country’s less developed urban centers. In 2011, retailers’ labor costs increased 26 percent and rents rose 10 percent, according to business news site jrj.com, citing an industry report issued jointly by China Chain Store & Franchise Association and Deloitte & Touche.

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June 01, 2012, to July 01, 2012

L'Oréal Survey Shows Most Women In China Believe Makeup Helps Improve Personal Charisma

About 93 percent of consumers in China said that makeup helps improve personal charisma, while 83 percent agreed that makeup boosts self-confidence, according to an online survey conducted by L'Oréal. Results of the survey also show that about 79 percent of male respondents believe makeup can increase attraction from the opposite sex. Other findings indicate that women are aware of the importance of makeup, with 80 percent of women respondents saying they use makeup on a daily basis, and 37 percent indicating they put on makeup 3–4 times a week.

Procter & Gamble's Social Advocacy Efforts Receive Recognition

Procter & Gamble received the Cause Marketing Golden Halo Award during the 2012 Cause Marketing Forum conference in Chicago, Illinois. The award recognizes the company's various corporate responsibility efforts, including the Children's Safe Drinking Water program, maternal vaccinations, and educational access. China's The Economic Observer newspaper included P&G on its list of the 30 Most Respected Enterprises in China for its "Socially Responsible Enterprises" efforts.

Chinese Baking Industry Offers Opportunities – And Novel Ideas – For Western Bakers

British Baker Magazine writer Georgi Gyton discusses insights gained during a recent tour of China’s bakeries, manufacturers and supermarkets, as well as a visit to the Bakery China trade show. It is clear, first of all, that the Chinese bakery market is "vibrant and growing" and offers many opportunities – and ideas – for Western companies. Some observations: Chinese baked goods use wheat flour, rice flour, and other cereals; products may be steamed, boiled, pan-fried, deep-fried, or baked; frozen cakes and desserts are gaining momentum; looks are extremely important: Chinese cakes are beautifully decorated, and breads have seeded toppings and often contain cranberry, cheese or spinach rolls.

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May 01, 2012, to June 01, 2012

Cosmetics Brands From US And France Dominate Asian Beauty Market

Brands from the United States and France are dominating the Asian cosmetics market, according to GDM Group USA CEO Judith Higgins and her partner Chris Han. The marketing specialists said that online sales and the use of celebrity endorsers are the most effective means of building up new brands in the market. Total sales of cosmetics in China are expected to reach RMB 220 billion, or $34.7 billion, by 2015. Higgins and Han said that in communicating with Asian consumers, cosmetics companies should make their target audience feel important. For example, L'Oréal used the slogan "Because You're Worth It."

Snack Makers Tweak Product Formulas To Satisfy World Tastes

With snack food sales essentially stagnant in the U.S. for the past two years, manufacturers are marketing their products -- some with slightly different formulas -- overseas. The timing is right, because busy people in developing countries like China and India are acquiring a taste for “on-the-go” American snacks. But there's a slight problem with the strategy: the flavors of snacks like Oreos and Lay’s potato chips have had to be tweaked to suit regional tastes. For example, Kraft fiddled with the Oreo recipe when it learned that the Chinese don't like treats as big or as sweet as Americans do. The result is an Oreo cookie that is a little smaller and a bit less sweet.

Procter & Gamble Refutes Online Allegations Against Crest Toothpaste In China

Procter & Gamble refuted online allegations made by some Chinese consumers that its Crest toothpaste sold in China is made of industrial wastes and does not contain fluoride. A complaint posted by a Hong Kong resident became popular online and has been reposted more than 35,000 times, generating more than 5,000 comments. P&G posted a report by the quality testing center for toothpastes showing that Crest toothpastes had passed tests conducted in October 2011 and met national standards requiring fluoride toothpastes to contain 0.05–0.15 percent of fluoride.
<<3456789>> Total issues:68
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