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Premiumization Driving Sales In Many Categories Worldwide

December 1, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
A Nielsen report highlights the strength of the premiumization trend that is driving sales around the world and looks set to continue as powerful underlining shifts play out. Rising income and a desire for exceptional quality (cited by 54% as a factor in premium purchases) and superior performance (46%), are core drivers. Interestingly, Nielsen finds that products with social or environmental benefits have premium potential. Some 42% of global respondents say they’d be very willing to pay a premium for products made with organic or all-natural ingredients, while nearly the same proportion (39%) say they’d pay extra for sustainable or environmentally friendly products.
 
Premium is well established in many markets – it already accounts for about 25% of dollar sales in both the personal-care category in the U.S. and Southeast Asia and is growing faster than other segments.  In Southeast Asia, for example, the premium segment grew 21% from 2012 to 2014, over double the rate of the mainstream and value tiers (8% and 10%, respectively). Strong and growing levels of consumer acceptance indicate the segment will continue to expand. Nielsen states that over 25% of global respondents say they’ll consider buying premium personal-care product:  hair-care (27%), body-care (26%) and oral-care (26%).
More: we previously looked at prestige strategies in India. [Image credit © KMM Productions]
"Global Premiumization Report: Moving Up", Nielsen , December 01, 2016, © The Nielsen Company
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Imported FMCG Market Is Booming In China

November 30, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
China’s domestic Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) market has slowed from five years ago. Third quarter growth was a mere 3.6 percent higher than last year, while in 2011 third quarter growth was 15 percent, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Imported FMCG is a different story, however. Sales/consumption of imported goods in China grew 18 percent during the 12 months before June 2016, six times faster than market average. Growth was driven by imported milk, coffee (+32 percent), instant noodles (+29 percent), and snacks (+26 percent). In non-food categories, hair care, personal wash and cosmetics experienced strong sales growth.
Jason Yu , "Imported goods outgrows market by 6 times", Report, Kantar Worldpanel, November 30, 2016, © Kantar Worldpanel
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China Continues To Embrace Online Shopping

November 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In the second volume of a report on shoppers in China, Kantar Worldpanel and Bain & Company highlight continued rapid growth in online sales and expansion in the number of categories bought online. Online sales of FMCG products grew 36.5 percent last year, with volume up 69 percent. A decline in the average selling price came from the broadening of product options beyond the expensive original categories, baby care and beauty. It also found that physical stores are trying to complement online shopping, with the growing popularity of convenience stores driven by urbanization, for small baskets and top-up shopping. The authors believe that online and offline channels need to adapt to the changing reality to stay competitive. The growth in online shopping was demonstrated by the 11/11 Singles’ Day promotions. This year, Alibaba drew sales of $17.8 billion in the day, and the report suggested reasons for this sales splurge: existing shoppers choosing to spend more on the day; shoppers deferring purchases in the lead up to the day; and new shoppers attracted by the promotions.
"Dealing with Two-speed China", Kantar Worldpanel, November 24, 2016, © Kantar Worldpanel
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L'Oreal Set To Reap Rewards Of China's Beauty Sales Growth

November 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Market analysts Trefis highlighted a Morgan Stanley report on China’s beauty products market, which the authors believe will become the world’s largest. It was L’Oréal’s second largest market in 2015, behind the US, and the company’s leadership in digital gives it an advantage in a market where e-commerce sales of beauty items rose from 3% of the total beauty market in 2010 to 19% in 2015. Online sales account for over 20% of the company’s Consumer Products division’s total sales in China. Morgan Stanley notes the growing demand for premium cosmetics by Chinese consumers online or through travel retail channels, and L’Oréal’s luxury products division is well placed to capture this sales growth. Trefis said that skin care is L’Oréal’s most valuable segment and it expects the company to expand its share in global skin care, with China playing a major part in that.
"Here’s How L’Oreal Can Benefit From The Booming Beauty Market In China", Trefis , November 22, 2016, © Insight Guru Inc.
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Unilever China Wins Sustainability Award From British Chamber Of Commerce Shanghai

November 10, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever China won the Sustainable Business Award of British Business Awards 2016. Created by the British Chamber of Commerce Shanghai in 2008, the Awards highlight and promote “excellence in innovation, enterprise, and endeavor in the British and Chinese business communities.” Among the criteria of the award are the presence of “identified vision and set of values” and integration of sustainability in business strategy and practices in the country.
"Unilever Wins Sustainable Business Award of British Business Awards 2016", PR Newswire, November 10, 2016, © PR Newswire
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Sam's Club China Offers More Expensive Products; Aims For Country's High-Spending Consumers

November 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart has revised the merchandising strategies at its Sam's Clubs members-only warehouse chain in China. During the past two years, the retailer has added more expensive products, such as Zojirushi rice cookers, which cost $3,200 each, and diamond rings that cost $295,000, to the product collections of the 14 Sam's Club stores in the country. Walmart believes China offers big growth potential, with the company's Sam's Club in Shenzhen being the best-performing among the retailer's locations worldwide. Also, as part of efforts to attract more high-spending customers, Walmart increased the club's annual membership fee in April 2016 to 260 yuan, or $40, almost double the previous fee.
"China’s High-End Retail Emporium", Bloomberg Businessweek, November 04, 2016, © BLOOMBERG L.P.
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Majority Of Millennial Consumers In Asia-Pacific Still Living With Parents, Survey Reveals

October 30, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In Asia-Pacific, 63 percent of millennials 22‒29 years old are living with their parents, according to a CBRE survey. In China, more than 60 percent of millennials are staying with their parents, the third highest in the region after Hong Kong and India, which both had around 80 percent. Data from the report revealed cultural norms and high property prices are keeping Chinese millennials from buying their own place, with 28 percent of respondents claiming it would take them 2‒5 years to afford to move out. Almost 90 percent of Chinese millennials dream of buying property, compared with the Asia-Pacific average of 55 percent. Millennial consumers in China spend 14 percent of their incomes on non-food purchases, the highest rate in the region.
Liz Flora, "Study: Chinese Millennials Spend Big on Shopping Because They Live with Their Parents", Jing Daily, October 30, 2016, © Jingdaily
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Walmart Invests $50M In China’s Big Online Grocery Retailer

October 21, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Just one day after Walmart and China’s JD.com revealed they would collaborate on three new online services, the U.S. retailer announced a $50 million investment in New Dada, the country's largest local on-demand logistics and grocery O2O e-commerce platform. The investment enables grocery delivery from certain Walmart stores. The earlier announcement focused on Sam’s Club and Global Imports stores on JD.com, and two-hour grocery delivery through New Dada, an independent joint venture of JD.com and Dada. New Dada has more than 25 million registered customers and provides local on-demand delivery in 300 cities in China. Walmart has 426 stores in 170 cities.
"Walmart Announces Strategic Investment in China’s largest on-demand logistics and O2O Grocery platform New Dada", News release, Walmart, October 21, 2016, © Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
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China Lowers Taxes On Imported Beauty Products

October 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
China cut the country's consumption tax on imported beauty products. Effective at the start of October 2016, the total effective tax rate, which includes the import tariff, VAT, and consumption tax, will be lowered from the current 84 percent to 29 percent for most cosmetics and 51 percent for luxury beauty brands. Aimed at encouraging Chinese consumers to spend more on local stores instead of leaving the country to shop, the new rules, however, include unchanged tax rates for skincare products and higher rates for premium skincare brands from zero tax to 15 percent.
Julia Hollingsworth, "Cuts in make-up tax beautiful in the eyes of US and European brands", South China Morning Post, October 11, 2016, © South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd.
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Wipro Buys Chinese Personal Care Brands

September 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
India-based Wipro said it has agreed to acquire Chinese personal care company Zhongshan Ma Er Daily Products' lines of shower and bath products. Upon completion of the deal, Wipro will become the third biggest company in the segment in southern China, the company said. Without disclosing the financial details of the deal, Wipro said it expects the Chinese brands to help grow its annual revenue in China to almost 1 billion yuan, or $150 million.
Celine Ge, "India’s Wipro to Buy Zhongshan Ma Er’s Personal Care Brands", South China Morning Post, September 22, 2016, © South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd.
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Carrefour Expands Small-Convenience-Stores Business In China; Moves Away From Hypermarkets

August 5, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Carrefour SA is shifting its focus from its hypermarket business to a business model emphasizing a smaller convenience store format in China. In 2016, the French retailer plans to open 40 to 50 convenience stores in Shanghai. According to the company, fresh products are driving sales growth in the country. With 14 currently operating Carrefour Easy stores in Shanghai, the company plans to launch online operations in Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan province.
Wang Zhuoqiong, "Carrefour shifts focus away from hypermarts", China Daily, August 05, 2016, © China Daily Information Co
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Wal-Mart Works More Closely With China's WeChat Mobile Social Network

July 28, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is expanding its partnership with mobile social network WeChat in China as part of its efforts to attract more consumers into its stores. In July 2016, Wal-Mart started allowing shoppers to check out in more than 100 stores across the country using WeChat Pay mobile payment. Also, the retailer runs a loyalty program aimed at the followers of its WeChat account. Using its WeChat account, Wal-Mart launched a digital gift card feature, enabling local consumers to send virtual gift cards.
Frank Tong , "Wal-Mart offers new mobile cross-channel features for Chinese shoppers", Internet Retailer, July 28, 2016, © Vertical Web Media
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Economic Slowdown Fails To Dampen Demand For Beauty Products In China

July 27, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In China, 65 percent of consumers say they increased their spending on facial skincare products in 2015 than they did in 2014, according to Mintel. Data from the market research firm's report “Beauty Retailing China 2016” revealed 52 percent of consumers say they are buying more beauty supplements, while 46 percent said they buy more color cosmetics. During the years 2014 and 2015, total retail sales of cosmetics in the country grew 12.3 percent to RMB 204.9 billion. Mintel predicts the market will maintain its strong growth to reach RMB 338 billion by 2020, driven by the high demand for skincare products.
Lucy Whitehouse , "Spending on beauty up in China, despite cooling economy", Cosmetics Design , July 27, 2016, © William Reed Business Media SAS
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China's Beauty Retail Market Forecast To Grow To $50 Billion By 2020, Mintel Says

July 22, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
China's beauty retail market is forecast to grow to 338 billion yuan, or $50 billion, in value by 2020, according to Mintel. Data from the market research firm revealed demand for skincare products is driving growth in the market. Mintel said 65 percent of consumers spent more on facial skincare in 2015 than in 2014. Growth continued despite the slowdown in consumer purchases during the three-month period ending October 2015, Mintel said.
"Chinese beauty retail market predicted to reach $50bn", Inside Retail Asia, July 22, 2016, © Inside Retail Asia
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Fine Lines Top Beauty Concern For Young Mothers In China, Kantar Worldpanel Says

July 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In China, 47.4 percent of young mothers between the ages 26 and 36 said “fine lines” was their top beauty-related concern, according to Kantar Worldpanel China. Data from the market research firm revealed only 28.5 percent of married women in the same age group but without children made the same choice. Concerning “wrinkles,” 31.4 percent of young mothers said this was a concern, while only 8.8 of their childless counterparts said so. Also, 15.5 percent of young mothers said they were worried about “chapped or cracked lips,” compared with only 10.8 percent of the non-mothers. “Dark circle under the eyes” and “puffy eyes” were also bigger concerns for young mothers than for those without children.
Elaine Liu , "Young Chinese mums rely on big brand", Kantar Worldpanel China, July 20, 2016, © Kantar Worldpanel China
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Wal-Mart Grabs Bigger Share Of West China's Retail Market

July 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart saw its share of the retail market in China's West region grow from 5.7 percent in 2015 to 6.4 percent in the 52-week period ending May 20, 2016, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Data from the market research firm revealed consumer spending on FMCG rose 2.4 percent during the period, significantly lower than the 5.1 percent recorded in the country during the previous year. Local retailer Yonghui's share of the market rose from the previous year's 3.6 percent to 4.9 percent, overtaking Vanguard to become the second largest retailer in the West region.
"Wal-Mart’s share growth accelerates in China", Kantar Worldpanel, July 11, 2016, © Kantar Worldpanel
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Low Shipping Rates Drive Growth For China's Alibaba Group

July 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Very affordable overnight shipping rates in China have been a biggest factor driving growth for online retailer Alibaba Group Holding. Some of the growth should be credited to the company's Taobao online marketplace and the low prices of goods offered by its 10 million merchants. Alibaba has no direct hand in arranging shipping for Taobao merchants; each seller has to deal with one of the country's largest private courier companies. China's four largest shipping service providers are Shunfeng, or SF Express, and YTO Express, STO Express, and ZTO Express. On Taobao, a 3kg box of Tide washing detergent costs $3.13, or 20.90 yuan, including shipping. In contrast, the same product would cost at least $53 in the US, with at least $35 going to shipping.
Peter Fuhrman, "Cheap shipping hidden key in Alibaba's success", Nikkei , July 06, 2016, © Nikkei Inc.
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L'Oreal Launches Ultra Doux Shampoo Brand In China

July 4, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
L'Oreal launched the Ultra Doux shampoo brand in China. Aimed at the Chinese consumer, the Ultra Doux brand consists of 43 products within five series. L'Oreal has positioned the brand for the medium-end market and priced the products from CNY20 to CNY80. Ultra Doux products are sold in markets, including France, UK, and Russia, and is owned by Garnier, which was acquired by L'Oreal in 1985.
"L'Oreal Launches New Shampoo Brand In China", ChinaRetailNews.com, July 04, 2016, © ChinaRetailNews.com
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Wal-Mart Sells China E-Commerce Site To JD.com

June 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it has agreed to sell its Yihaodian website in China to JD.com Inc., the country’s second-largest online retailer. As part of the deal, which marks a strategic shift in the US-based retailer’s approach to e-commerce business in China, Wal-Mart will receive a 5-percent stake in JD.com. After opening its first store in China in 1996, Wal-Mart has found it hard to expand in the country where it operates about 430 locations. In 2012, Wal-Mart first invested in Yihaodian and gained full control of the website in 2015.
Rick Carew, Alyssa Abkowitz and Sarah Nassauer, "Wal-Mart to Sell Chinese E-Commerce Business to JD.com", Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Wal-Mart Stores Announces Several Changes To Senior Management Team Of International Business

June 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. announced several changes to its senior-level management team for its international business. Andy Clarke plans to step down as president and chief executive officer of Asda, Wal-Mart’s UK operations, effective end of July 2016. Wal-Mart said Sean Clarke will return to the UK and succeed Clarke as president and CEO of Asda effective July 11, 2016. Also, Wal-Mart confirmed Roger Burnley will be appointed as deputy CEO and chief operating officer of Asda in October 2016. Wal-Mart also said Walmart Canada president and CEO Dirk Van De Berghe will be Walmart China’s new leader effective August 22, 2016, while Walmart Asia president and CEO Scott Price will focus on his role as chief administrative officer of Walmart International.
"Walmart Announces Senior Management Changes in International Business", Walmart, June 13, 2016, © Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
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Pro-Democracy Singer's Cancelled Concert Forces Retirement Of L'Oreal Hong Kong Head

June 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
L'Oreal Hong Kong president and director general Stephen Mosely will retire at the end of June 2016. Mosely's departure is likely linked to the controversy caused by cosmetics brand Lancome's decision to cancel a planned concert featuring pro-democracy singer Denise Ho Wan-see. Chinese state-backed newspaper Global Times linked the singer with Hong Kong and Tibetan independence movements. L'Oreal Luxe Travel Retail Asia managing director Eva Yu will replace Mosely.
Kris Cheng, "L’Oréal Hong Kong chief may retire soon amid Denise Ho concert row", Hong Kong Free Press, June 13, 2016, © Hong Kong Free Press Limited
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China Allows Wal-Mart To Acquire Online Retailer Yihaodian Without Restrictions

June 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
China's Ministry of Commerce has removed restrictions on Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s acquisition of online supermarket Yihaodian. In August 2012, Wal-Mart received conditional approval for its deal to increase its investment in the online retailer, becoming its controlling shareholder with a 51-percent stake. In July 2015, Wal-Mart acquired the remaining 49 percent of Yihaodian.
Donny Kwok, "China commerce ministry removes curbs on Wal-Mart's Yihaodian deal", Reuters, June 08, 2016, © Reuters
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Wal-Mart Seeks Bigger Share Of China's Online Retail Market

May 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart is seeking to expand its e-commerce operations in China, as part of the company’s efforts to increase its share of the local online retail market. Yihaodian, which Wal-Mart acquired in July 2015, operates 250 e-commerce hubs in 200 cities across China. Online sales in the country reached $307 billion in 2013, hit $589.2 billion in 2015, and is forecast to grow beyond $1 trillion by 2019. In contrast, online spending in the US was $334 billion in 2015 and is forecast to reach $480 billion by 2019, according to Forrester. In China, 46 percent of shoppers are already buying groceries online for home delivery, compared with the global rate of 25 percent, according to Nielsen. Wal-Mart accounts for 1.6 percent of the local online market, which places it at number 6, behind Alibaba, which has 46.9 percent of the market and JD.com with 20.1 percent. According to analysts, Wal-Mart, which aims to be among the top 3 online retailers in the market, will find it hard to grab market share from the local online retail giants.
Anne D'Innocenzio and Paul Wiseman, "Wal-Mart Steps up Online Efforts in China as a Key to Future", ABC News, May 31, 2016, © ABC News Internet Ventures
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Wal-Mart China Posts Strong Sales Growth In 1Q 2016

May 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart said total sales in China rose 5.1 percent in the first quarter of 2016, compared with the same quarter in the previous year. Driven significantly by the strong performance of Chinese stores during the Chinese New Year, Wal-Mart China also said comparable sales grew 1.4 percent and comparable per-customer transaction jumped 5.2 percent. Data from market research firm Nielsen revealed Wal-Mart China's fast moving consumer goods share in hypermarkets grew for 13 consecutive quarters.
"Wal-Mart China Sales Up 5.1% In Q1 2016", ChinaRetailNews.com, May 31, 2016, © ChinaRetailNews.com
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Sam's Club Gives Wal-Mart Something To Smile About In China

May 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Sam's Club, Wal-Mart's membership-only retail warehouse club business, is doing well in China. Wal-Mart owns and operates 800 Sam's Club stores worldwide, and four of the top 10 locations are in China. Sam's Club in Shenzhen has been the company's number 1 location since 2008. Wal-Mart plans to add seven or more Sam's Club stores to the existing 13 in China by 2017. Its focus on attracting affluent consumers has helped the warehouse club business grow its sales and revenue in the country. Also, the company has seen growing sales after adopting Western-style packaging of seafoods and other fresh food products.
Anne D'Innocenzio , "Wal-Mart's Sam's Club: A Bright Spot in China", ABC News, May 31, 2016, © ABC News Internet Ventures
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Carrefour Opens Warehouse Center In Guangdong Province, Its Fifth In China

May 31, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Carrefour SA opened a distribution center in Dongguan, in China's Guangdong province. Part of the French retailer's expansion in the country, the Dongguan facility is Carrefour's fifth warehouse center in China. With its first phase having an area of 21,000 square meters, the facility will support the 30 stores in Guangdong, Hainan, and Fujian provinces, the company said.
Qiu Quanlin, "Carrefour launches distribution center in S China's Guangdong", China Daily, May 31, 2016, © China Daily Information Co
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Korean Cosmetics Brands Outperform Western Rivals In China Market

May 29, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Exports of Korean cosmetics to China jumped 250 percent in 2015, accounting for almost 25 percent of all of the country's imported cosmetics. Driven by Chinese consumers' obsession with K-pop and love for traveling to South Korea, growing demand for Korean cosmetics has caused a drop in Western brands' market shares, by 4.8 percent for skincare and 3.8 percent for color cosmetics, of foreign beauty products. Data from L2 revealed Korean brands also have an advantage over their Western counterparts, with Innissfree the most-searched beauty brand on Baidu.
"Why Korean Brands Are Gaining A Growing Edge Over European Competition In China", Jing Daily, May 29, 2016, © JINGDAILY
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Wearable Food Waste May Help Solve A Global Problem

May 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Researchers in Hong Kong are working on a way to turn discarded food into clothing. The core of the technology is the use of a lactic acid fermentation to transform starchy food waste with high sugar content into spun fibers. The researchers say the fiber is not yet strong enough to make textiles out of it, but further study should solve that problem. Meanwhile, scientists around the globe are creating their own food-waste-to-clothing solutions: orange peels into textile fibers; “leather” from pineapple leaves; fabrics from fermented milk and wine; and even food waste buttons.
"Use the power of innovation to reduce food waste", South China Morning Post, May 26, 2016, © South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd.
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Unilever China Partners With Local Business Incubator

May 24, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever China through its Foundry initiative partnered with the Zhangjiang High-Tech Park to help speed up the growth of local startups with innovative technology. Unilever China Foundry expects to launch six business incubator projects in the country in 2016. Unilever was the only FMCG company selected to join the partnership due to its capabilities in consumer insights and marketing.
Ding Yining , "Startups boosted by Unilever-local strategic incubator platform tie-up", Shanghai Daily, May 24, 2016, © Shanghai Daily
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Affluent Middle-Class Consumers In China Think Loyalty Programs Make Them Spend More

May 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In China, 72 percent of affluent middle-class consumers view themselves as engaged members of loyalty programs, according to a report by Collinson Group. Results of the study conducted in January 2016 by SSI Research revealed 89 percent of mainland Chinese and 87 percent of Hong Kong residents said a loyalty program makes them want to spend more. Only 45 percent of Hong Kong respondents, however, said they feel engaged in loyalty programs. Worldwide membership to loyalty programs dropped 20 percent from 2014 to 2015, data revealed.
Jessica Rapp, "Study: 89% of Chinese Consumers Say Loyalty Programs Increase Their Spending", JINGDAILY, May 18, 2016, © JINGDAILY
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Demand Grows For Anti-Pollution Haircare Products In China

May 17, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Haircare brands are launching products with claims of anti-pollution features in China. Growing consumer demand for anti-pollution haircare products is a global trend, with data from Mintel GNPD showing an increase of 6 percent in new haircare products that include an anti-pollution claim from 2012 to first quarter of 2016. Schwarzkopf, for example, launched its Purify & Protect range of haircare products aimed at Chinese consumers concerned with air pollution’s impact on their hair. To promote the product range, Schwarzkopf partnered with MOJI, China’s most popular weather forecast app.
Laurie Du , "Haircare brands tackle pollution in China", Mintel, May 17, 2016, © Mintel Group Ltd
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Anticounterfeiting Group Kicks Out Alibaba For Perceived Failure To Act Against Fake Products

May 13, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding's membership in the AntiCounterfeiting Coalition has been revoked by the anti-counterfeiting organization. According to a letter sent by the group to its 250 members, the coalition’s board of directors said it decided to suspend a recently created membership category under which Alibaba was admitted in April 2016. Also, the group cited concern from global brands about the Chinese e-commerce company's commitment to fighting fake products.
Kathy Chu, "Alibaba Suspended From Anticounterfeiting Group", The Wall Street Journal, May 13, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Carrefour Launches Online Store In Beijing

May 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
French retailer Carrefour launched its O2O online store in Beijing, China. Integrating store delivery and multiple payment methods, the online store will offer dual-language services, and will allow product returns and exchange at all of the retailer’s locations. Carrefour launched its O2O business in Shanghai in June 2015.
"Carrefour Unveils O2O E-commerce Services In Beijing", China Retail News, May 11, 2016, © Chinaretailnews.Com
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China Leads Rest Of World In Adoption Of Mobile E-Commerce

April 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In China, the number of consumers who said they had made online purchases using a mobile device jumped from 18 percent in 2014 to 43 percent in 2015, according to the PwC Total Retail Survey 2016. In contrast, the global average increased from 12 percent to 20 percent during the same period. In general, e-commerce is growing faster in emerging markets than it does in developed countries. China leads the way, with mobile devices becoming the dominant channel for retail purchases, with 20 percent of Chinese respondents saying they made online purchases daily.
Emily Backus, "Mobile Dominates Among Chinese Shoppers", Women’s Wear Daily, April 20, 2016, © Fairchild Fashion Media
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China's Tax-Free Shopping Drops 24 Percent In March 2016

April 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
In China, tax-free shopping declined 24 percent year on year in March 2016, after growing 58 percent in 2015, according to market research firm Global Blue. Details from the company’s Globe Shopper Report: China Edition revealed the country remains the number 1 Globe Shopper market, accounting for a third of global tax-free shopping sales. Data also revealed May and October are the busiest months for travel among regular Chinese travelers. Following the 3-percent weakening of the yuan against the euro, tax-free shopping sales are expected to be only slightly affected; however, 46 percent of travelers said they would reconsider their destination, while 47 percent will reduce their shopping budget.
"Global Blue releases the Globe Shopper Report: China Edition", Global Blue, April 20, 2016, © Global Blue
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Carrefour Says Beijing SiYuanQiao Store Chosen One Of China's Best

April 20, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Carrefour said its Beijing SiYuanQiao store was selected as one of the Top 10 Best Stores in China in 2015 by Linkshop. Announced during the Global Retail Innovative Summit 2016, the award focuses on newly built stores that offer shoppers with innovative and advanced concepts, techniques, or experiences. Winners were selected from among 500 new stores by the public and by a jury.
"The Carrefour Beijing SiYuanQiao hypermarket awarded “Best Store in China in 2015”", Carrefour, April 20, 2016, © Carrefour
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Alibaba Acquires Controlling Stake In Lazada For $1 Billion

April 12, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
China’s Internet company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. said it will invest $1 billion to acquire a controlling stake in Singapore-based e-commerce startup Lazada Group. Marking the Chinese firm’s largest overseas acquisition ever, the acquisition of Lazada follows Alibaba’s purchase in December 2015 of Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post newspaper for $266 million. Alibaba said it was spending $500 million to buy newly issued Lazada shares and $500 more on shares owned by existing shareholders, including Rocket Internet, Tesco PLC, and AB Kinnevik.
Alyssa Abkowitz et al, "Alibaba to Invest $1 Billion in E-Commerce Startup Lazada", The Wall Street Journal, April 12, 2016, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Olay Appoints Male Celebrity As Brand Ambassador In China

April 12, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Women's skincare brand Olay’s recruitment of local male celebrity Li Yifeng as the brand’s ambassador in China is not a wise move, according to Resonance China executive Jerry Clode. Brand owner Procter & Gamble also chose Taiwanese actor Darren Wang and Hong Kong TV host Wong Cho Lam as endorsers of SK-II cosmetics and Tide laundry brand. As part of P&G’s partnership with e-commerce company JD.com, the three male celebrities formed a “boyband of six” with other male celebrities Lu Han for Clear toothpaste, Eddie Pang for Head and Shoulders shampoo, and Ning Zetao for Gillette.
Jerry Clode , "Why Olay's choice of male ambassador for China is a stupid move", Campaign Asia, April 12, 2016, © Haymarket Media Ltd.
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Western Companies Need To Really Understand Chinese Consumers Before Expanding Into China

April 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Western companies planning to expand into China should strive to understand Chinese consumers, including cultural differences and attitudes that influence their buying decisions, in order to improve their chances for success. Results of a survey of more than 4,000 Chinese consumers revealed a growing sense of patriotism among millennials; Chinese millennials define superbrands as those brands that are “relevant across many aspects of consumers’ lives;” and Western brands should also focus on the country’s rural regions as potential markets. Also, Chinese women tend to be nationalists and put significant emphasis on relationships with other women; and there is a growing trend among millennials focusing on desire for self-expression.
"Why Western businesses need a profound rethink on China", Landor, April 11, 2016, © Landor Associates
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European E-Commerce Companies Join China's International E-Commerce Expo For First Time

April 11, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Leading e-commerce platforms from Europe are participating in the 2016 China International Electronic Commerce Expo. European e-commerce companies’ participation in the event is a first for the industry event. Bol, the largest online retailer in the Netherlands; Ricardo, the leading online shopping mall in Switzerland; and Zalando, a popular website selling shoes and fashion in Germany, are attending the event, due to huge demand for China-made products in their respective markets.
"China Exclusive: European countries debut at China Int'l E-commerce Expo", Xinhua English.news.cn, April 11, 2016, © Xinhua, english.news.cn
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L'Oreal Paris Finds Success With WeChat's Marketing Program; Offers Lessons For Other Beauty Brands

April 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
L’Oreal Paris’ success with WeChat’s advertising program shows how other beauty brands can use the social media platform to expand their reach and improve engagement with consumers. According to L2’s Insight Report: WeChat, the brand doubled its WeChat fan base and engagement in just 15 days. L’Oreal Paris recruited actress Fan Bingbing to invite users to follow the brand’s WeChat account using a personal voice message.
Elisabeth Rosen, "WeChat Advertising Lessons from L’Oréal Paris", L2 Daily, April 08, 2016, © L2 Inc
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SK-II Launches Advertorial Video Focusing On Single Women In China

April 8, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Procter & Gamble’s beauty brand SK-II launched “Marriage Market Takeover,” a video advertisement highlighting the social conditions of single women who are older than 27 years in China. Called “sheng nu” or “leftover women,” single women who are 28 years and older face heavy pressures from society, including their family, in China. According to SK-II president Markus Strobel, the campaign is part of the brand’s efforts to inspire and empower women to determine their destiny.
Heather Chen , "Emotional advert about China's 'leftover women' goes viral", BBC , April 08, 2016, © BBC
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Alibaba Claims Retail Market Crown For Itself; Analysts Disagree

April 6, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Alibaba Group declared itself the world’s largest retailer as of March 31, 2016, the end of its fiscal year, according to its filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. In March 2015, Alibaba group executive vice chairman Joe Tsai said the company has recorded 3 trillion yuan, or about $476 billion, in gross merchandise volume. Some retail market analysts, however, disagreed with Alibaba’s pronouncement, saying the company’s business was too different from that of Walmart and hence there cannot be a meaningful comparison. Moody’s Investors Service debt and retail analyst Charles O’Shea said Walmart’s status as a physical retailer is a different business model than that of Alibaba.
Evan Clark , "‘Retail Economy’: Alibaba Claims Top Spot, Experts Take Exception", Women’s Wear Daily, April 06, 2016, © Fairchild Fashion Media
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China's Cosmetics Market Grows Fast Despite Slowdown In Overall FMCG Market

March 30, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
China’s cosmetics market grew 12.8 percent in 2015, compared with 2014, according to Kantar Worldpanel. Data from the market research firm revealed the segment’s high-speed growth, in contrast with the FMCG market’s 3.5 percent growth rate, was driven mainly by consumers’ upgraded buying and purchasing a wider range of products. Also, the study revealed local brands, which are driving market growth, are expanding their shares of the market, due to the growing popularity of brands between mass and prestige in price positioning; brands’ inclusion of both natural and high-technology features; and popularity of hydration benefit in skincare products.
Jason Yu, "The High-Speed Growth Of The Cosmetics Market in China", Kantar Worldpanel, March 30, 2016, © Kantar Worldpanel
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China Revises Taxation Rules For Imported Goods Sold Online

March 25, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
China is amending its tax rules for imported products sold online by removing a special tax, also known as parcel tax, previously imposed on such goods. Replacing the parcel tax will be value-added and consumption duties that are at present levied on most products sold in the country. According to China’s Ministry of Finance, however, the new tax will come with a 30-percent discount. In January 2016, China expanded a pilot program, which allowed a port district in the city of Hangzhou to trade imported goods at lower rates. Online sales of imported goods in China have expanded at a CAGR of 63 percent in the five-year period ending 2015 to reach 638 billion yuan, or $98 billion, accounting for 17 percent of the country’s total online retail sales, data from Mintel Group Ltd. revealed.
Daniela Wei, "China Changes Online Import Tax Rules, a Move to Help Cosmetics", Bloomberg Business, March 25, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Mobile Commerce Accounts For Bigger Part Of Ecommerce In China, Analysts Report

March 23, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Mobile sales accounted for almost 50 percent of ecommerce sales in China in 2015, according to eMarketer. Data from Analysys International Enfodesk revealed mcommerce accounted for almost two-thirds of retail and consumer-to-consumer ecommerce sales in China in the fourth quarter of 2015, an increase of 55.5 percent from the previous quarter. In 2016, eMarketer predicts retail mcommerce sales in the country will grow 51.4 percent, accounting for 55.5 percent of retail ecommerce sales in China for the year.
"Ecommerce Turns into Mcommerce in China", eMarketer, March 23, 2016, © eMarketer Inc.
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Wal-Mart Bribery Probe Is Nearing Completion, U.S. Prosecutors Say

March 18, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
U.S. prosecutors are nearing completion of their international probe into bribery allegations against Wal-Mart Stores Inc. During the four-year investigation, which covered Mexico, Brazil, India, and China, U.S. Justice Department officials have faced various challenges, including in Mexico where results of investigation were too old to be used as evidence. In China, prosecutors saw their work hampered by the country’s disclosure rules and lack of evidence. Wal-Mart has promised to cooperate with U.S. authorities and spent almost $750 million on its own probe and on reorganizing its compliance operations.
Tom Schoenberg & Shannon Pettypiece, "Wal-Mart Probe in Final Lap With Scant China Findings", Bloomberg, March 18, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Alibaba-Tencent Rivalry Now Reaches China's Energy Industry

March 10, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
China’s largest Internet companies, Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd., expanded their rivalry to include the country’s oil and gas industries. Alibaba agreed to provide China National Petroleum Corp., the local oil and gas production giant, with Internet-based services. Alibaba’s deal came after Tencent signed in August 2014 a collaboration deal with China Petroleum & Chemical Corp., which operates more than 30,000 fuel stations across the country, in areas including mobile payments and media marketing.
Aibing Guo et al, "Alibaba and Tencent Extend Their Web Battle to the Gas Station", Bloomberg Business, March 10, 2016, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Walmart Unveils Expansion Plans In Southern China

March 7, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart plans to build eight new stores and a distribution center in China’s south region. Following the retailer’s signing of a cooperation memorandum with the local government of Dongguan, an industrial city near Hong Kong and Macau, the planned facilities are part of Walmart’s expansion in the region. According to the retailer, the planned expansion will create more than 3,000 new jobs in the city in the next five years.
"Walmart expands in southern China", Retail Analysis, March 07, 2016, © The Institute of Grocery Distribution
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L'Oreal Sells More Cosmetics In China Than In France

February 26, 2016: 12:00 AM EST
L’Oreal SA CEO Alexis Perakis-Valat said the French cosmetics company’s sales in China grew 4.6 percent to 14.96 billion yuan, or $2.29 billion), in 2015. With sales growth driven in a large part by the local market’s multi-brand make-up boom, the company now sells more cosmetics in China than it does in France. Perakis-Valat also said the market boom is due to the growing “selfies” trend among women in China.
Xu Junqian, "Selfies help drive L'Oreal's China sales amid a beauty craze", China Daily, February 26, 2016, © China Daily Information Co (CDIC)
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