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Alibaba Opens E-commerce Platform To Liquor Sales, With Suntory’s Help

January 27, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is launching online sales of distilled spirits in partnership with Japanese brewer Suntory Holdings, which has opened a store on the Tmall e-commerce platform. Suntory’s U.S. distillery and group member Beam Suntory has begun selling Jim Beam and Maker's Mark bourbon whiskey, and Courvoisier cognac, on the site. Alibaba is also selling whiskey and other liquors in its physical stores, including RT-Mart superstores and Hema supermarkets, following its strategy of blending online and brick-and-mortar shopping. Beam Suntory opened a liquor store in China in July 2017.
"Suntory to Team with Alibaba to Sell Booze Online in China", Nikkei Asian Review, January 27, 2018, © Nikkei Inc.
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Bioengineering Success May Give L’Oréal A Competitive Advantage In China

January 16, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
L’Oréal China Co. has succeeded in reconstructing Chinese skin cells in a Shanghai lab from living tissue donors. The cells will be used by R&D teams to test makeup and skincare products, such as anti-aging serums, whitening creams, and pollution-fighting cleansers, for Chinese consumers – “the most demanding in the world in almost all our product categories,” a company representative said. L’Oréal is the top-selling beauty brand in China, but consumers have begun to turn to local brands for products formulated for their skin type. An industry analyst said the company has recognized the trend and has ”moved to adapt to the different genes to capture the huge potential of the Chinese market.” [Image Credit: © Cosmetics China Agency]
Louise Prance Miles, "L’Oréal Replicates Chinese Skin in Shanghai-Lab to Better Cater to Regional Consumer", Global Cosmetic News, January 16, 2018, © Global Cosmetic Media Limited
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L'Oréal To Tap Into Strong Chinese Demand For Premium Cosmetics

January 2, 2018: 12:00 AM EST
Acknowledging a rise in demand for high-end cosmetics in China, L'Oréal’s luxury beauty and skincare brand Giorgio Armani Beauty plans to open an online store on the Alibaba Group’s Tmall platform this month, along with a separate store on Tmall's invite-only "Luxury Pavilion." The online stores will offer product browsing as well as interactive digital experiences such as scheduled in-person makeup sessions with beauty advisers. [Image Credit: © Giorgio Armani ]
Huixin Deng, "Even Giorgio Armani is Launching an E-Commerce Flagship on TMall", Jing Daily, January 02, 2018, © Herlar, LLC
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Asahi Sale Of Stake In Tsingtao: Not A Good Deal For Investors

December 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
The Financial Times says investors in Chinese brewery Tsingtao and Japan’s Asahi will be disappointed that Asahi sold its near 20 percent stake in Tsingtao at a third below its closing price on December 21 to Chinese investment group Fosun. Investors had been monitoring the possible sale of Asahi’s stake, and were excited when Carlsberg had indicated interest. Carlsberg would probably have paid more for the stake because of the possible synergies, and would have created China’s second largest brewer with a quarter of the market. Fosun, on the other hand, is not likely to improve Tsingtao’s fortunes, and should have paid more for the stock.
"Asahi/Tsingtao: Falling Flat", Financial Times, December 21, 2017, © The Financial Times Limited
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China’s Fosun Group Looks Homeward: Acquires Asahi’s Stake In Tsingtao Brewery

December 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
China’s Fosun Group, which has been on an overseas buying spree lately, is turning its attention back to the homeland as it buys out Asahi’s stake in domestic brewer Tsingtao for $844 million. The buyout makes Fosun the second biggest shareholder in century-old Tsingtao with 18.1 percent. State-owned Tsingtao Brewery Group owns the rest. The deal is said to be consistent with Fosun’s major business areas and its focus on China’s expanding middle class. The deal also reflects a shift in direction resulting from government pressure on asset buyers to adhere to government strategies on infrastructure projects, rather than acquiring “frivolous baubles” like football clubs and entertainment companies.
Peggy Sito, "Fosun Buys out Asahi’s Stake in Tsingtao Brewery as it Turns its Acquisitions Back to its Home Turf", South China Morning Post, December 20, 2017, © South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd.
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FMCG Spending Grows In China, Report Shows

December 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Consumer spending on fast-moving consumer goods in China grew 5.5 percent during the 12-week period ending November 3, 2017, compared with the same period in the previous year, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Data from the market research firm revealed modern trade expanded 3.1 percent during the period, faster than the same period in the previous year. Also, smaller-store formats grew the fastest, with supermarket and convenience stores growing by 3.9 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively, data showed. Among China's largest retailers, Yonghui grew the fastest at 11 percent, while Sun Art group, owner of the RT-mart brand, grew 5.7 percent, reinforcing its market-leading status.
"FMCG in China reported new record recovery", Kantar Worldpanel, December 20, 2017, © Kantar Worldpanel
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China's GDP To Remain Strong, Post Strong Growth In 2017, Analysts Predict

December 20, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
China's economy is forecast to grow 6.8 percent in 2017, driven by state investments and strong consumption expansion, according to Euromonitor. Data from the market research firm predict growth will decline to between 6.2 percent and 6.3 percent in 2018‒2019. Risk factors that could affect the economy include a credit market that is growing faster than the country's GDP. With a 10 percent to 20 percent probability, a high debt burden could slow down the real estate market or impact consumer confidence, causing GDP growth to drop to 4 percent in 2018 and 4.8 percent in 2019, analysts said.
"China Economic Outlook: Q4 2017", Euromonitor, December 20, 2017, © Euromonitor
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Tingyi To Supply Its Products To C-Store Chain

December 14, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Tingyi (Cayman Islands) Holding Corporation, which sells instant noodles, baked goods, and beverages in China, has agreed to supply its products to “Family Mart” convenience store chain operator Ting Chuan for the next next three years. Ting Chuan will provide sales promotion services for Tingyi's products under the agreement. Ting Chuan is a unit of Taiwan’s Ting Hsin International Group, a major (33.58 percent) shareholder of Tingyi.
"Tingyi (Cayman Islands) Holding Inks Deal To Supply Products To Ting Chuan", Nikkei Markets, December 14, 2017, © Nikkei NewsRise Asia Pte Ltd.
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Coca-Cola Invests $76 Million In New Chinese Bottling Plant

December 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola has opened a new $76 million bottling plant in Hebel province in China. Plant, a joint venture with China partner COFCO Coca-Cola Beverages, is the 45th Coca-Cola plant in the country and the largest in northern China. Coca-Cola CEO James Quincey and COFCO Chairman Zhao Shuanglian attended the plant’s opening ceremony.
"Coca-Cola Opens Its 45th Bottling Plant in China, Investing $75.5m", FoodBev Media, December 06, 2017, © FoodBev Media Ltd
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Asahi To Begin Selling Two Former AB InBev Brands In China

November 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Japanese brewer Asahi announced it will begin marketing in China next spring two premium European beer brands it acquired in its deal with Anheuser-Busch InBev. Czech beer Pilsner Urquell and Italy's Peroni will be distributed mostly in Shanghai and other mainland cities, with marketing focused on younger drinkers who frequent upscale supermarkets and restaurants. It is expected that the brands will be sold at higher prices than Asahi's Japanese top-seller Super Dry lager, which costs three times as much as local Chinese brands.
Daisuke Harashima, "Brewer Asahi Bringing Pilsner Urquell, Peroni to China", Nikkei Asian Review, November 23, 2017, © Nikkei Inc.
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Chinese Beverage Industry Honors Pepsi-Tingyi Bottlers For Conservation Efforts

November 23, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Bottlers and other production plants that are part of the PepsiCo-Tingyi alliance beverage system in China were recognized for water and energy conservation efforts at the 2017 China Beverage Industry Association (CBIA ) annual conference recently. PepsiCo and Tingyi won nearly 40 percent of the total awards at the conference, continuing a tradition of industry awards over many years. This year, 20 alliance plants won Excellent Water Saving Enterprise awards, and 26 received Outstanding Energy Conservation Enterprise awards.
"PepsiCo-Tingyi Alliance Wins Big at CBIA 2017 Awards", Global Times, November 23, 2017, © Global Times
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Hong Kong Coke Bottler Sees Major Shifts In Beverage Preferences In China

November 21, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Hong Kong-based beverage distributor and Coca-Cola bottler says Chinese consumers are incorporating concerns about health into their drinks purchases. Patrick Healy of Swire Beverages says Chinese beverage buyers are turning their noses up at classic sugary sodas like Coca-Cola and Fanta, instead buying premium bottled water and energy drinks. Healy says the trend began several years ago. Now traditional categories are seeing single-digit growth, compared to double-digit growth for the new categories. Industry observers say low sugar or sugar-free, and low calorie drinks will be the dominant trend in China. Swire has been a business partner with Coca-Cola since 1965, and is one of two major bottling partners of Coca-Cola China, along with state-owned China Foods.
Jane Li, "It’s Fewer Sugary Sodas, as Health Conscious Chinese Consumers Opt for Energy Drinks, Premium Waters", South China Morning Post, November 21, 2017, © South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd.
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Tingyi’s Profit Growth Is Strong, But Adverse Trends Are In The Wind

November 13, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Tingyi (Cayman Islands) Holding Corp, owner of the Master Kong brand of snacks, noodles, and beverages, said its third-quarter profit rose 30 percent to $186.6 million on $2.97 billion in revenue from a restated $144 million in profit a year ago. A Chinese partner of Starbucks and PepsiCo, Tingyi warned of short-term margin pressure partly because of rising raw material costs. Other pressures affecting profit include China’s changing economic development mode, industrial upgrade, and fast-changing consumer demand.
"China's Tingyi Q3 profit jumps, but margin pressure remains", Reuters, November 13, 2017, © Thomson Reuters
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China Has A Serious Thirst For Imported Premium Bottled Waters

November 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
China’s newly-affluent, health-conscious urban consumers are driving sales of premium mineral waters. Packaged water sales in China grew 14 percent in the first half of 2017, a much higher rate than the two percent posted by the whole range of FMCG offerings. The top five local bottled water brands continue to dominate the mass market, claiming a 70 percent market share. But imported brands, including Nestlé’s Perrier and San Pellegrino, control the upscale segment. In fact, Nestlé “higher than expected” double-digit growth in sales of its premium sparkling mineral waters in China pushed the country ahead of Japan as Perrier’s largest market. Chinese brands are competing for a share of the upscale market with new packaging. Shenzhen Ganten and Nongfu Spring have both unveiled high-end glass bottling reminiscent of Perrier’s.
Maggie Zhang, "Healthy and Cool? Packaged Water Sales in China Driven by New Consumer Preferences", South China Morning Post, November 03, 2017, © South China Morning Post Publishers Limited
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China's GDP Growth Expected To Slow Down In 2H 2017, Analysts Say

October 2, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
After growing 6.9 percent year-on-year in the first half of 2017, China's GDP is forecast to slow down in the second half, with growth for the whole year expected to reach 6.6 percent. In 2018-2019, the country's annual GDP is expected to drop to 6 percent, although consumption is forecast to rise by 7 percent. Based on IMF estimates, average productivity of the country's state-owned enterprises is 25 percent lower than those of their counterparts in the private sector. Productivity growth in the manufacturing sector slowed down from 2.6 percent in 1998-2007 to slightly over zero percent in 2008-2016.
"China Economic Outlook: Q3 2017", Euromonitor International, October 02, 2017, © Euromonitor International
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China's FMCG Market Grows 4.6 Percent In August 2017 Quarter

September 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In China, sales of fast-moving consumer goods grew 4.6 percent during the 12-week period ending August 11, 2017, compared with the same period of the previous year, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Data from the market research firm revealed lower-tier cities saw faster growth at 4.9 percent compared with 4.1 percent for leading cities and provincial capitals.
"Further recovery for China's FMCG market", Kantar Worldpanel, September 28, 2017, © Kantar Worldpanel
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Unilever Denies KJU Perfumed By Lux Shower Gels Named After North Korean Leader

September 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever has denied that the initials “KJU” from the brand KJU Perfumed by Lux of shower gels designed for the China market stand for Kim Jong Un, North Korea's leader. According to the company's head of personal care business, Alan Jope, the company realized there was an issue with the initials only after they had trademarked it.
Thomas Mulier, "New 'KJU' Shower Gel Not Named After Kim Jong Un, Insists Unilever", Bloomberg, September 28, 2017, © Bloomberg LP
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Vengeful Government Tactics Force Lotte Mart To Sell China Operations

September 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
South Korea-based discount retailer Lotte Mart is putting its China operations up for sale, alleging that the government conducted a campaign to destroy it in retaliation for cooperating with the U.S. in the area of missile defense. Beverage maker Lotte Chilsung is also considering selling its Chinese operations. Lotte Mart allowed the use of a former company golf course for deployment of a U.S. high altitude antimissile system in South Korea. The company alleges that China retaliated by shutting down stores because of purported safety violations, and by encouraging consumer boycotts. Lotte Mart spent more than $600 million to bolster the China operations, but now says enough is enough.
Choi Hyun-Joo et al., "Lotte Mart exits China, other units may follow", Korea JoongAng Daily, September 16, 2017, © JoongAng Ilbo Inc.
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Chinese Beverage Shoppers Increasingly Prefer High-End Bottled Waters

September 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
China’s upscale beverage buyers are turning away from sugar-sweetened soft drinks toward more healthful bottled water. Over the past half-decade, the bottled water market in China grew 12 percent a year on average, to a current value of $9.1 billion. It is forecast to reach $13.3 billion by 2021. Consumers are not just buying more bottled water (i.e., 25,906 million liters in 2016), they are buying premium, high-end brands considered healthier and better tasting. High-end brands are grabbing an increasingly larger share of the leading category: 400- to 800-milliliter sizes.
Shi Jing, "Thirst for chic bottled brands", China Daily, September 06, 2017, © China Daily Information Co (CDIC)
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Co-Branding Campaign In China Benefits Nongfu Spring And Mobile Game

August 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Nongfu Spring Co. has begun distributing its fruit-flavored drink (Guowei Yinliao) in China in a co-branding campaign with a popular mobile game Yinyangshi (aka, Onmyoji). The drinks are sold in four flavors: lychee, grape, grapefruit, and lemon. Each features a different licensed image of the game, which has been downloaded 10 million times in the country. A further inducement for gamers to buy the drinks – sold at ¥4 ($0.61) per 530 ml plastic bottle – is a QSR that can be scanned to obtain free game tools, game money, and other game-related benefits.
"Nongfu Spring's range of Guowei Yinliao in Shuilizhi, Shuiputao, Shuiyouzi, Shuiningmeng varieties available in China", MarketLine, August 31, 2017, © MarketLine
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Uni-President Plans To Enter Premium Instant Noodles In China

August 12, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Taiwan-based food conglomerate Uni-President Enterprises Corp. president Alex Lo told financial reporters recently that the company hopes to carve out a niche selling high-priced instant noodles, including Expert of Soup and Man Han Feast, in China. The company already sells instant noodles and beverages in China through a Hong Kong subsidiary. Instant noodle sales account for 30 percent of the company’s total sales, while beverages account for 60 percent. Expert of Soup sells for about five yuan ($0.75) and Man Han Feast sells for 18 yuan. Low-priced instant noodles sell for about 2.5 yuan in the Chinese market.
Kuo Chia-erh, "Uni-President to Focus on Pricey Noodles in China", Taipei Times, August 12, 2017, © The Taipei Times
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High Temps In China Trigger Free Sprites From Coca-Cola

August 9, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola China’s promotional partnership with the weather app MojiWeather as already paid off handsomely for the company, which provides free Sprites to consumers who retrieve QR codes from the app when the temperature hits 35ºC (95ºF). The company has already handed out more than 10 million cups of the beverage in the campaign. More than two million thirsty Chinese have stopped by McDonald's for a free Sprite, driving up single-serve sales in July by 23 percent compared to a year ago.
Andy Morton, "The Coca-Cola Co Hot Weather Promotion Adds Shine to China’s Sprite Sales", Just-Drinks, August 09, 2017, © just-drinks.com
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Celsius Waters Company Partners With China-Based Distributor

July 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Celsius Holdings, Inc. (Boca Raton, Fla.) has partnered with Beijing-based Qifeng Food Technology to distribute the fitness drink Celsius via the Qifeng network of 500 beverage distributors in all provinces in China. Qifeng was founded by former Pepsi, Nestle and Red Bull executives. The Celsius original product line comprises seven sparkling and non-carbonated flavors in 12 oz cans, and single-serve powdered packets. A new natural line is available in six flavors, three sparkling and three non-carbonated versions, caffeinated and naturally sweetened.
"Celsius Holdings, Inc. Partners with Qifeng Food for Entry into the China Market and Nationwide Distribution of Celsius Brands", News release, Celsius Holdings, July 31, 2017, © Celsius Holdings
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Starbucks Spends $1.3B To Buy Out All Chinese Joint Ventures

July 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Starbucks says it is demonstrating its commitment to the Chinese market by unifying all stores in the country under a “full company-operated structure.” The company is spending $1.3 billion to buy out all its joint ventures – 1,300 in eastern China, including Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces, the fastest-growing market in terms of store count outside the U.S.
Staff Writer, "Starbucks Buys Out All Joint Ventures in China for US$1.3bn", Marketing Interactive, July 28, 2017, © Marketing Magazine Online
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Growth Returns To Asian FMCG Market

July 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
FMCG growth in Asia is accelerating, according to researcher Kantar Worldpanel, with the personal care care segment leading the way. The overall pace of growth reached 3.4 percent in the first quarter, up from 3.3 percent in 2016, due largely to the strong health & wellness and convenience sectors. Value growth in food was up about 0.8 percent over last year.  But beverage growth was flat, indicating that consumers are “rationalizing their spending.” Dairy growth was healthy (4,2 percent), as was homecare (3.2 percent), but both were slower than a year ago. Personal care grew 9.6 percent, a major spurt over a year ago. “Self-pampering and indulgence remained important to consumers,” the company said.
"Asia Consumer Insights Q1 2017", Report, Kantar Worldpanel, July 27, 2017, © Kantar Worldpanel
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Coke’s Summer Ads Feature Youth-Oriented Labels

June 30, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola’s new summer “Share a Coke” ad campaign in China features bottles designed to attract the country's youth. Decorated with symbols and phrases used routinely by young people, the bottles are known as “code bottles.” Campaign unveils 37 distinct labels that show emoticons, numbers, characters and graphics. One code is the number 521, used by Chinese youth to say “I Love You.” Two films featuring the special bottles will be shown on social media platforms and TV. One stars celebrity Lu Han, who has 32 million social media followers. [Image Credit: © Coca-Cola Co. ]
Lucy Britner, "The Coca-Cola Co lines up "Share a Coke" push in China", just-drinks global news, June 30, 2017, © just-drinks.com
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Hangzhou Wahaha Group Buys Smart Beverage Vending Machines From DeepBlue

June 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
China’s largest beverage vendor is taking a step beyond FMCG toward automated retail with the signing of a 10-year contract with DeepBlue Technology to buy a million TakeGo smart vending machines. The machines use DeepBlue’s quiXmart payment system, as well as machine vision, biometric identification, and deep learning. The machines automatically assign items picked up by customers to a digital shopping cart. Customers are charged using Alipay when they exit. [Image Credit: © DeepBlue Technology / People's Daily Online]
Du Xiaofei , "Wahaha Group eyes next-generation vending machines", People's Daily Online, June 27, 2017, © People's Daily Online
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Hong Kong-Based Coke Franchisee Is Optimistic About Business With China

June 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola franchisee Swire Pacific Chairman John Slosar says business with China has been very successful over the past two decades. The company will continue to invest there, while maintaining business ties with Hong Kong and Taiwan. Located in Hong Kong since the 1870s, Swire Pacific has prospered since the former British colony was returned to China in 1997 and began operating under the "one country, two systems" policy. Slosar is bullish on both Hong Kong and China, noting that Swire will expand its real estate, airline and beverage investments. "I'm sure the next 20 years will also have a lot of great opportunities for us," he said. [Image Credit: © Swire Pacific Ltd. ]
Torrance Wang , "Interview: Swire Group to continue investing in China with confidence: chairman of HK-listed Swire Pacific", Xinhua, June 19, 2017, © XINHUANET.com
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Coke Ad Campaign Speaks To Young Chinese In Their Special “Code”

June 19, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
New Coca-Cola bottles – known as “code bottles” – targeting young Chinese were introduced as part of a summer ad campaign produced with the McCann Worldgroup Shanghai agency. The bottles are decorated with emoticons and phrases used routinely by young people in China. The campaign is bolstered by two films -- one with celebrity Lu Han (left) -- featuring the code bottles. They will run on social media platforms and TV.
Angel Tang, "Coca-Cola’s new packaging in China targets young segment", Marketing Interactive, June 19, 2017, © Marketing-Interactive.com. Lighthouse Independent Media Pte Ltd
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Fosun Should Find Better Takeover Target Than The Body Shop, Analyst Says

June 6, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Chinese conglomerate Fosun International should discontinue its efforts to secure the rights to buy The Body Shop, the beauty retailer owned by L'Oreal SA. There are several reasons why Fosun would be better off looking for another company to acquire. These include the lack of positive forecasts for the retail sector, including the beauty retail segment. Also, The Body Shop's emphasis on all-natural beauty products no longer differentiates it from rival retailers, as reflected by the 4.8 percent drop in revenue in 2016. With a price tag of $900 million, which is expected to significantly jump once a likely bidding war starts, The Body Shop is quite expensive.
Shelly Banjo, "Fosun's Fruitless Beauty Search", Bloomberg, June 06, 2017, © Bloomberg LP
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When Flies Pig Out, China Reduces Its Food Waste Problem

May 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
China, with 1.4 billion of people, has a serious food waste problem. A farm in Sichuan province in the southwestern region of the country is working on it, however, using the larvae of black soldier flies – maggots – to devour mountains of leftover meat, vegetables and fruits. The larvae can eat twice their weight in food refuse. On average, one kilogram of maggots can eat two kilos of garbage in four hours. Not bad considering that each person in the country throws away almost 30 kilograms of food every year. And it’s a sustainable system: the farm processes the maggots into a high-protein animal feed and their feces into an organic fertilizer.
"In China, Maggots Help Deal With Food Waste Problem", AFP Relax News, May 31, 2017, © Network18 Media and Investments Ltd
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Walmart Opens Flagship Online Store For China Market On JD.com

May 25, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart opened its flagship online store on China-based shopping portal JD.com. Aimed at providing same-day and next-day deliveries to more than 600 million consumers in the country, the opening came almost a year after Walmart and JD.com formed a strategic alliance for the China market. In October 2016, Walmart invested $50 million in New Dada, JD.com's joint venture with delivery services firm Dada.
Bien Perez, "US retail giant Walmart launches flagship online store on JD.com", South China Morning Post, May 25, 2017, © South China Morning Post
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Lidl Opens Online Store In China

May 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Germany-based retailer Lidl launched its China-focused online store on Alibaba's online platform Tmall Global. According to the company, the website will offer several of its private labels. With European products being popular in China, Lidl wants to launch its Combino, Bellarom, and Sondey brands in the country.
Yoni Van Looveren, "Lidl launches Chinese web shop", RetailDetail, May 22, 2017, © RetailDetail
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Opportunities For Confectioners In Asia’s Functional Candy Market

May 18, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Concerns about health among Chinese consumers have both helped and hindered the country’s confectionery industry, according to Mintel data. On the one hand, there is growing anxiety that the Chinese diet contains far too much sugar. This is reflected in a decline in volume candy sales beginning in 2015, a trend not helped by a general economic slowdown. However, Chinese consumers are buying more functional candy, for example throat-soothing or vitamin C candies. This presents a product development and marketing opportunity for confectionery firms, especially those that analyze the demands of demographic segments in Asian countries. One functional ingredient in candy is collagen, an anti-aging protein. Another is iron, already available in candy in Japan and Taiwan. Associated with good health and energy, iron is beneficial for skin complexions, and often taken to prevent anemia. ][Image Credit: © Golden Throat Lozenge (Jinsangzi Houpian]
Loris Li, "China’s Sugar Confectionery Market Declines While Functional Candy Grows", News release, Mintel, May 18, 2017, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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L'Oreal Haircare Brand Partners With TerraCycle For Chinese Recycling Program

May 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Ultra Doux, L'Oreal's natural hair care brand in China, signed a partnership deal with recycling company TerraCycle. Started in the US in 2011, the recycling partnership makes Ultra Doux China's first brand to offer consumers a complete recycling solution for haircare packaging waste. Consumers or communities, by signing up for the program, can collect and send haircare packaging to TerraCycle for free.
"L’Oreal’s Ultra Doux Goes Green with TerraCycle", Marketing-Interactive, May 11, 2017, © Marketing magazine Online
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PepsiCo Expands E-Commerce Relationship With China’s Alibaba Platform

May 11, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
PepsiCo’s China unit has extended its marketing relationship with giant online and mobile commerce company Alibaba with a new strategic agreement. The company said the pact is an effort to expand its own e-commerce capabilities while enhancing customer online experiences. PepsiCo will take full advantage of Alibaba's platform and data “to carry out more innovative experiments” and “perfect PepsiCo's products and services.” Cooperation with Alibaba began five years ago in the e-commerce segment when PepsiCo established a flagship store on Tmall  It has launched several online marketing campaigns, including the 2016 Super Brand Day, Quaker's co-branded campaign with Tmall, and Kumamon-branded Lay's gift campaign during Chinese New Year. [Image Credit: © PepsiCo ]
"PepsiCo Signs Strategic Agreement with Alibaba Group", News release, PepsiCo, May 11, 2017, © PepsiCo
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Coca-Cola Edges Into China’s Premium Sparkling Water Market

May 5, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Coca-Cola will soon see whether it can compete successfully in China’s premium sparkling water market, currently ruled by Evian, Perrier, and San Benedetto. Looking to expand beyond sagging soft drink and juice brands, company has introduced expensive – $9.29 per 750 ml bottle – Valser brand on Tmall online platform. Company already offers low- and mid-range mineral water brands in China.
"Coca-Cola launches US$9 premium bottled water in China", Marketing Interactive, May 05, 2017, © Marketing-Interactive.com. Lighthouse Independent Media Pte Ltd
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China's FMCG Market Grew Slowly In 1Q 2017, Report Says

May 4, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
In China, spending on fast moving consumer goods grew slightly by 1.7 percent year on year in the first quarter of 2017, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Compared with the previous year, the country's GDP grew 6.9 percent, boosted by a government infrastructure focus and a hot housing market. Of the country's top 5 retailers, Sun Art, Vanguard, and Walmart were able to maintain their market ranking during the year. While Carrefour saw its market share drop by 0.1 point, local retailer Yonghui's share grew from 2.6 percent to 3 percent in the first quarter of 2017.
outpaced the market by opening more stores Jason Yu, "FMCG growth remained challenging in the first quarter, while local retailers outpaced the market by opening more stores", Kantar Worldpanel, May 04, 2017, © Kantar Worldpanel
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Chinese Dairy Market Is Fluid As Consumers Move Away From Milk

April 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Competition among Chinese dairies is fierce in the $55.2 billion market as consumers expand their choices from milk – where the market is flatlining – to yogurt, cheese and plant-based milk. The head of R&D for China’s Want Want processed foods company expects the market for plant-based – i.e., soy, milk, etc. – to double to $8 billion this year as families choose healthier foods. Not surprisingly, the company will be introducing its own line of plant-based milks this year.  Meanwhile, domestic and foreign companies are buying into Chinese dairy farms and developing new dairy products to drive consumer interest.
"China's Dairies Rush to Plant-Based Milk as Latest Health Trend", Bloomberg Markets, April 28, 2017, © BLOOMBERG L.P.
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Chinese Restaurant Chain Sees Big Opportunity In U.S., U.K.

April 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A spicy soup chain based in Beijing plans to open 80 new restaurants this year, at least 10 of which will be outside China. Sichuan HaiDiLao, which offers free massages and manicures to customers waiting for service, already has an outlet in Los Angeles. It hopes to acquaint American and British diners with its specialty hotpots featuring steaming broths flavored with meat, vegetables and noodles. The idea is to introduce the world to genuine Chinese cuisine in much the same way U.S. food companies spread American eating styles. Because of prohibitive labor and other costs in the U.S., however, duplicating the company’s successful business model won’t be a simple task. But, says company chairman Zhang Yong, “As the Chinese economy grows and the world starts to put more focus on China, I believe there’s a chance for Chinese restaurants.” 
"This Restaurant Chain Wants to Bring Chinese Hotpot to the World", Bloomberg Pursuits, April 27, 2017, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Researchers Find Strong Link Between Healthy Bones And Green Tea

March 28, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
A Chinese analysis of data from 15 studies found that green tea (Camellia sinensis) and a key compound known as EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) tend to increase bone mineral density. However, the analysis of data from nearly 139,000 people stopped short of saying drinking green tea was linked to a reduced risk of fractures. The researchers suggest that the benefit of green tea regarding osteoporosis derives from its polyphenol content: as much as 40 percent of water-extractable polyphenols. Other teas contain much less. The researchers also suggest that green tea may act by boosting the creation of cells responsible for bone formation (osteoblasts) or suppressing cells that weaken bones (osteoclasts). [ Osteoblast, image credit: © Wikipedia  ]
M. Guo et al., "Tea consumption may decrease the risk of osteoporosis: an updated meta-analysis of observational studies", Nutrition Research, March 28, 2017, © Elsevier Limited
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Walmart Grabs Bigger Share Of China's Retail Market, Thanks To Chinese New Year

March 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart saw its share of China's retail market grow from 4.8 percent to 5.0 percent in the 12-week period ending January 27, 2017, according to Kantar WorldPanel. Data from the market research firm revealed that the Chinese New Year boosted sales for Walmart and other retailers. Walmart has revised its business strategy in China, adapting to the country's retail market conditions by moving resources to rural areas and opening more Sam's Club stores.
"Walmart reaches new high in Chinese New Year", Kantar WorldPanel, March 27, 2017, © Kantar WorldPanel
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China's Online Retail Market To Experience 15 Percent Growth Through

March 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
China's online retail market will expand at a CAGR of 15 percent in 2016 to 2021, reaching RMB 1.3 trillion in total value by the end of the period, according to Mintel. Data  revealed the country's overall e-commerce market grew from RMB 53 billion in 2011 to about RMB 626 billion in 2016, a CAGR of 64 percent. Also, 73 percent of online shoppers shop for imported products from local online stores, while only 27 percent shop from overseas retail websites. Mintel research also showed 31 percent of consumers purchase imported food from Taiwan, 36 percent buy wine from France, and 45 percent buy beauty and personal care products from South Korea.
"China’s online retail market is expected to reach RMB 1.3 trillion in 2021", Mintel, March 22, 2017, © Mintel Group Ltd.
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Aldi To Use Alibaba Online Platform To Market German Brands In China

March 3, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Germany’s fast-growing discount grocery chain Aldi hopes to interest Chinese consumers in German food and beverage brands, especially wine, snacks and breakfast foods. With that goal in mind, the company will "soft launch" an online presence on Alibaba’s Tmall Global platform, followed by a full launch event in Shanghai on April 25. The Chinese venture is being managed by Aldi South, owner of Aldi U.S. and manager of the British chain. An Alibaba manager said the Chinese middle-class is increasingly interested in German products.
Victoria Bryan, "German discounter Aldi to start online sales in China", Reuters, March 03, 2017, © Thomson Reuters
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Watsons Kiosk In Shanghai Features YouCam Makeup App, Allows Customers To Virtually Try On Cosmetics

February 24, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Retailer Watsons' flagship store in Shanghai features a kiosk that comes with augmented-reality-powered facial detection technology. Developed by Perfect Corporation, the YouCam makeup app allows customers to try on more than 30 products from leading makeup brands, such as MaxFactor, Maybelline, and Kate Cosmetics.
"YouCam Makeup App Becomes an Interactive Makeup Consultant in Watsons Shanghai", Business Wire, February 24, 2017, © Business Wire, Inc.
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Baby Care Market In China Gets More Sophisticated With Safe And Premium Products On Trend

February 22, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
China’s baby care market continues to grow strongly, often driven by parental attention on product safety and items with a premium-feel. Mintel says consumers are increasingly focused on specific safety claims and now seek out products that are hypoallergenic, dermatologically-tested and paraben-free. They are also more concerned about ethical/environmentally friendly claims. Mothers remain critical for marketers but there is growing recognition that fathers matter too. Mintel data shows that younger fathers are much more likely to be involved in childcare than older fathers. Some brands are play to this – Unilever’s Dove campaign, ‘See all the ways dads care’, is one example, as is Skinfood’s Goodfather range. [Image source © Blend]
 
Lucy Whitehouse , "Baby care in the spotlight: Mintel reveals latest China trends", Cosmetics Design , February 22, 2017, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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More China Consumers Expected To Buy Foreign Goods By 2020, Study Reveals

February 16, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
By 2020, 25 percent of China’s population, or 325 million people, are expected to purchase products from abroad via online retailers, according to eMarketer. Data from the market research firm revealed more than 15 percent of the Chinese population bought $85.8 billion of foreign goods in 2016. With local consumers spending about $473 each on cross-border purchases in 2016, foreign products accounted for 4.2 percent of the total online retail market in the country.
He Wei, "Survey says more e-shoppers to buy foreign stuff by 2020", China Daily, February 16, 2017, © China Daily Information Co (CDIC)
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China Bans More Beauty Products From South Korea

February 15, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
China has banned more beauty care products from South Korea. In January 2017, China blocked the import of 19 cosmetics products from South Korea, citing “sanitary issues and other concerns.” Market observers, however, believe China’s action was in retaliation for South Korea’s installation of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense antiballistic missile system. Many of the products on the embargo list are made by smaller cosmetics brands, such as Iaso, Ottie, and Aekyung.
Crystal Tai, "China Increases Its Ban of South Korean Beauty Brands", Women’s Wear Daily, February 15, 2017, © Penske Media Corporation
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Middle-Class Consumers Driving Growth In China's Beauty Market, Report Shows

January 31, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
China's middle class, composed of more than 100 million families, is driving growth in the country's beauty care market, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Data from the market research firm revealed middle-class consumers have more confidence about the future and, hence, are more likely to buy more and purchase big brands. They use the internet to find product information and are more ready to try new products and adopt new trends. Also, middle-class consumers accounted for more than half of the incremental sales in various categories of the beauty market.
Jason Yu, "Middle class pivotal to China’s beauty market", Kantar Worldpanel, January 31, 2017, © Kantar Worldpanel
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Consumer FMCG Spending Growth Continues In China, Report Says

January 27, 2017: 12:00 AM EST
Consumers in China bought 2.2 percent more FMCG products during the 12-week period ending December 2, 2016, compared with the same period in the previous year, according to Kantar Worldpanel China. Data from the market research firm showed online spending grew 50 percent during the period, which includes the Double 11 festival. For the four-week period ending December 2, 2016, ecommerce penetration grew to a record 20.5 percent, driven by Double 11 festival spending.
"China’s ecommerce grows by 50%", Kantar Worldpanel, January 27, 2017, © Kantar Worldpanel
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