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Shenzhen Authorities Accuse Walmart China Of Selling Expired Meat And Recycling Used Cooking Oil

August 8, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
A Wal-Mart Stores Inc. branch in China’s Shenzhen City was accused by the state-owned Shenzhen City Channel broadcaster of selling expired meat and of recycling used cooking oil in preparing food. A video broadcast by the TV channel and allegedly recorded by an employee at the Walmart store showed “unhygienic practices” encouraged by the store management. Shenzhen city regulators took samples of meat and oil from the Walmart store, according to a report by the Oriental Morning Post newspaper.
Laura He, "Walmart China accused of using old meat, oil", Market Watch, August 08, 2014, © MarketWatch, Inc.
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China Business
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Walmart China Plans To Expand Operations In Shenzhen

August 6, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart China plans to expand its business operations in Shenzhen, location of the retailer’s headquarters, according to the company’s president and CEO Sean Clarke. Included in the company’s planned expansion moves are a pilot of its Online to Offline retail model, which includes leveraging its majority-owned online grocer Yihaodian. Also, Walmart plans to double the number of stores it operates in Shenzhen from the current 24 Supercenters and two Sam’s Club.
"Walmart to pilot O2O in Shenzhen", Retail Analysis, August 06, 2014, © IGD Services Limited
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Future Of China’s Bakery/Cereals Market Looks Rosy

August 6, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Market researcher Canadean predicts that China’s bakery and cereals market will be the second most valuable – at $47 billion -- in the world after the U.S. by 2018. The market is already the largest in volume. Per capita consumption of bread and cereals is still low, according to the researcher, which notes that the average Chinese has only 92 bakery and cereals “occasions” a year, far lower than Europe. The average German has 731 such occasions a year. Cakes, pastries and sweet pies currently account for 43.9 percent of China’s market share.
"China: second most valuable bakery and cereals market by 2018", Canadean, August 06, 2014, © Canadean Ltd. Part of Progressive Digital Media Group Plc
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Wal-Mart Unveils Strategy For Regaining Growth For International Business

August 5, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart has to create a “platform for sustainable growth in China” and revive its operations in Brazil in order for the world’s largest retailer to regain growth mode for its international division, according to Wal-Mart international CEO David Cheesewright. During an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the CEO also said Wal-Mart’s international growth strategy should also involve reenergizing its Mexico business and becoming a leader in the ecommerce segment. Cheesewright acknowledged the problems encountered by the retailer, including the slowdown in sales growth at its 6,100 international stores to 1.3 percent in the year ending January 31, 2014. Wal-Mart also has to deal with slowdowns in consumer spending in Mexico and China and regulatory uncertainties in India and China.
Shelly Banjo, "Wal-Mart's Strategy to Jump Start Growth in China", Wall Street Journal, August 05, 2014, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Henkel's China Packaging Facility Gains Government Certification As Training Center

July 31, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Henkel was named as a China Packaging Industry Training Base by the China Packaging Federation, becoming the first multinational company to have received the recognition. Highlighting the company’s prominence in the country’s packaging industry, the distinction means the company’s packaging facility at Henkel’s China and Asia Pacific main location in Shanghai is now a government-certified packaging training center. Most of China’s packaging industry training centers are operated by academic institutions and government-owned packaging organizations.
"Henkel named China Packaging Industry Training Base", Henkel, July 31, 2014, © Henkel AG & Co. KGaA
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China's FMCG Market Slows Down Further But Stabilizes In 2014

July 17, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
China’s fast moving consumer goods market grew 5.6 percent in terms of value for the 52-week period ending June 13, 2014, compared with the same period in the previous year, according to data from market research firm Kantar Worldpanel. Lower-tier cities were a major driver for the FMCG market’s total growth, with counties experiencing 8.9 percent or higher growth rates. Growth slowed down from 15 percent in the second quarter of 2011 to 4.7 percent in the second quarter of 2014. Consumers’ move to slow down their trading up to premium products is cited as one of the factors that caused the lower growth rate.
"FMCG Growth Showing Signs of Stabilizing in The Latest Quarter whilst Local Retailers Gain Share", Kantar Worldpanel, July 17, 2014, © TNS UK Limited
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General Mills Sees China As A Bowlful Of Delicious Marketing Opportunities

July 15, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
General Mills says its new $15 million technical center in Shanghai, China, confirms its belief that the Chinese market presents a huge marketing opportunity for its cereals, snacks and other food products. The 75,000-square-foot center, one of several international technical centers it operates outside of headquarters in Minneapolis, Minn., gives the company the ability to take advantage of emerging consumer trends, build “bigger and better innovation pipelines”, and ensure food safety within its product lines. The center will develop snacks, convenient meals, yogurt and super-premium ice cream for Chinese consumers. Product R&D, food safety, nutrition research, and food sensory evaluation will all be housed there.
Eric Schroeder, "General Mills opens technical center in China", BakingBusiness.com, July 15, 2014, © Sosland Publishing Co.
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China Arbitrator Rules Against Labor Complaint Against Wal-Mart

June 26, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
An arbitration committee in the city of Changde in China ruled against a labor complaint filed by the local chapter of All-China Federation of Trade Unions, a Community Party-sanctioned labor union, against Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Union official Huang Xingguo said many of the complaining workers plan to appeal the arbitrator’s ruling, claiming they have not received fair compensation or timely notification about Wal-Mart’s closure of a store in the city in March 2014. Wal-Mart said it complies with China’s labor laws, treats its employees with respect, and appreciates that “the arbitrator has agreed through the decision.”
Fanfan Wang and Laurie Burkitt, "China Panel Dismisses Labor Complaint Against Wal-Mart", Wall Street Journal, June 26, 2014, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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China's Consumers Lack Brand Loyalty, Study Reveals

June 11, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Leading consumer brands are faced with low customer loyalty in China, according to a joint study by research firms Bain & Company and Kantar Worldpanel. Results of the study, which covered 40,000 households in mainland China, revealed a high churn rate among consumers, with the top 5 brands in each market segment seeing between 40–80 percent of new customers. Hair care brand Head & Shoulders, for example, saw its customer base expand 3 percent from 2011 to 2012; however, data revealed 45 percent of 2011 buyers did not return in 2012. Market penetration drives repurchase rates and market share, the study revealed.
Tiffany Ap, "Chinese customers' lack of loyalty puts pressure on brands", South China Morning Post, June 11, 2014, © South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd.
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Coty Appoints Li & Fung As Distributor Of Some Brands In China

June 3, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Coty Inc. appointed Li & Fung as distributor of some of its brands, including adidas, Rimmel, and Playboy, in China. Marking a change in Coty’s marketing strategy for mass-distribution brands in China, the deal will allow Coty to use Li & Fung’s expansive distribution network in the country, as well as the local distributor’s strengths in the go-to-market business. Coty also announced its plan to stop selling the TJoy brand and instead focus on its leading global brands, which have more potential for growth in the China market. According to the companies, the deal will take effect on July 1, 2014.
"Coty Inc. And Li & Fung Announce A Distribution Agreement In China", PRNewswire, June 03, 2014, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Wal-Mart Protests China Fines; Calls On Government To Do More To Ensure Food Safety

April 13, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
After being fined $9.8 million over the previous three years by Chinese authorities, U.S. retailer Wal-Mart told China’s regulators that they also need to improve their product safety rules and policies. Some of the retailer’s alleged violations include misleading prices, selling products that did not meet quality standards and selling donkey meat that was later discovered as fox meat. In China, unlike in the U.S. and most other countries, manufacturers are not accountable for food safety problems. Instead, foreign-owned retailers, Wal-Mart in particular, often bear the brunt of government regulators’ actions. In contrast, regulators do not frequently visit stores owned by local grocery companies or often issue fines against them. Some market analysts said Wal-Mart’s risky move has enough basis, especially after the retailer had implemented various steps to ensure the quality and safety of food products it sells in the country.
Laurie Burkitt and Shelly Banjo , "Wal-Mart Cries Foul on China Fines", Wall Street Journal, April 13, 2014, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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L'Oreal Buys Chinese Cosmetics Firm Magic Holdings International

April 8, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
L’Oreal acquired Chinese cosmetics company Magic Holdings International Limited, which marks the beauty company’s largest investment in the country so far. L’Oreal chairman and CEO Jean-Paul Agon said the deal strengthens the company’s leadership in China’s cosmetics market, currently the world’s third largest. Magic, which is China’s leading facial mask manufacturer, reported revenue grew 14 percent to €166 million in 2013. Currently the world’s number 1 beauty brand, L’Oreal reported its sales in China grew 10.2 percent to 13.28 billion yuan in 2013, marking the company’s 13th consecutive year of double-digit growth rate in the country.
"L'Oreal's acquisition of Magic Holdings marks firm's biggest investment in Chinese beauty market", L'Oreal, April 08, 2014, © L’Oréal
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L'Oreal Opens Maison Lancome Store At Beijing Airport's Terminal 3

March 31, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
L’Oréal Travel Retail Asia Pacific opened its Maison Lancôme store at the Beijing Airport’s Terminal 3, the world’s biggest airport terminal. Described by the company as an “important milestone,” the store features a podium design aimed at promoting the cosmetics company’s leading brands Advanced Génifique, Absolue, and Absolue L’Extrait. Featuring a high-tech skincare analysis machine, the store also includes the company’s first Wonderland merchandising showcase in Asia.
Rebecca Mann, "L’Oréal Travel Retail opens Maison Lancôme at Beijing Terminal 3", The Moodie Report, March 31, 2014, © The Moodie Report
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Wal-Mart Sets Renovation Plans For China Stores

March 25, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
After opening stores in 28 shopping centers and two Sam’s Club stores in China in 2013, Wal-Mart plans to upgrade 55 existing retail stores in the country in 2014. In Anhui, a market the company entered in 2005 and where it operates 17 stores at present, Wal-Mart plans to invest 18 million yuan in renovating the nine-year-old Shuguang Hefei store. Also, Wal-Mart’s corporate social responsibility efforts in the region have helped it win many government honors and become the internship partner for both the West Anhui Institute and the Science and Technology of Defense Institute.
"Wal-Mart invests in renovation of Chinese stores", FreshPlaza, March 25, 2014, © FreshPlaza
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China’s Lax Food Safety Enforcement Drives Western Retailers To Take Action

March 20, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Inadequate government oversight of the food processing industry in China has forced Western food retailers like Walmart and Carrefour to take inspection matters into their own hands.  Walmart, for example, is boosting supplier inspections after a recent donkey meat recall – the meat turned out to contain fox DNA – and now conducts more DNA tests of meat in China than it does anywhere else in the world. The company expects to spend $16 million over three years to increase food safety in China after being stung by previous scandals there. The FDA is beefing up its inspection presence in China as well. The best solution, however, would be for the Chinese food processing industry to take more responsibility in food safety and for the government to strengthen its enforcement of standards.
Liza Lin , "Keeping the Mystery Out of China's Meat", Bloomberg Businessweek, March 20, 2014, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Online Retailers In China Close Stores Selling Brand-Name Cosmetic Knockoffs

March 20, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
In response to customer complaints and a Chinese television report, Amazon China and online retailer China Dangdang have closed online stores purportedly selling fake brand-name skincare products. Dangdang shut two stores and refunded customer payments unconditionally.  Amazon said it had closed the stores in February after receiving complaints from customers. The fake products were knockoffs of L'Oréal and Estée Lauder cosmetics that were priced far lower than the real things. A representative of one of the closed stores admitted that the knockoffs came from a wholesale market in Beijing.
Yang Jing, "Amazon, Dangdang shut down online stores selling fake skincare products", Global Times, March 20, 2014, © The Global Times
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Foodservice Traffic Up And Down Around The Globe

March 19, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Foodservice traffic fell slightly in Canada, Italy, Spain, China and the U.S. in the last calendar quarter of 2013, mainly because of “challenging economies” and “low consumer confidence”, according to researcher NPD Group. The opposite was true for Russia, Great Britain and Australia, where foodservice traffic rose in the same period, due to nice weather, improved economies and “a burgeoning foodservice market”. (Traffic in Russia rose a healthy seven percent.)  NPD said quick service restaurants, on-premises dining, and chains powered growth in the strongest markets. Many markets were held back by a weak quick service segment.
"Russia, Great Britain, and Australia Lead in Foodservice Traffic Growth in Last Quarter of 2013", NPD Group, March 19, 2014, © The NPD Group, Inc.
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Supermarkets In China Lose Market Share To Online Retailers

March 18, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Supermarkets in China are facing growing competition from online retailers for their business, according to a report by the Communist Party-managed “Beijing Youth Daily” newspaper. According to the report, e-commerce has changed Chinese consumers’ buying behavior, adversely affecting traditional retailers’ business, with at least 80 percent of supermarkets and other retailers reporting higher management costs and declining gross margins. Since 2012, foreign-owned retailers, such as Wal-Mart, Carrefour, and Tesco, have seen sales slowdown, forcing them to close some of their stores. These companies have focused on selling refrigerated and frozen products, which attract customers and offer higher gross margins; however, online retailers are also seeking to expand their presence in this segment.
"Supermarkets fighting losing battle with China's e-commerce", WantChinaTimes.com, March 18, 2014, © WantChinaTimes.com
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Asia-Pacific Set To Outpace Rest Of World Again In 2014, Euromonitor Says

March 17, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Asia-Pacific is forecast to be the world’s fastest-growing region in 2014, the 10th consecutive year the region will hold the distinction, according to market research firm Euromonitor. Data revealed the region’s economy has grown 73 percent, with China alone adding $5.705 billion to its GDP, and the region’s population has expanded by 10.4 percent. This trend is expected to continue in the next 10 years, with the region’s population forecast to reach more than 4.3 billion. With China becoming the world’s largest economy, the region is likely to again outpace the rest of the world, with consumer spending rising above $4,000 per capita. While China has been the main factor driving growth in the region, other countries, such as India, Philippines, and Bangladesh, have also made it to the world’s list of the top 5 fastest-growing large emerging markets.
Sarah Boumphrey, "Asia-Pacific: Set to Become the World’s Fastest-Growing Region for 10 Years Running", Euromonitor International, March 17, 2014, © Euromonitor International
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Tate & Lyle Acquires Chinese Polydextrose Fiber Producer

March 13, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
British food ingredients supplier Tate & Lyle PLC announced it is acquiring China’s Winway Biotechnology Nantong Co. Ltd, a producer of polydextrose specialty fiber. Polydextrose is a low-calorie bulking agent and dietary fiber. The acquisition provides Tate & Lyle with “an excellent platform” for accelerating the growth of its specialty fibers business in Asia Pacific. Tate & Lyle said it will invest in the factory and laboratories in Nantong (Jiangsu Province) over the next two years to expand capacity. The Nantong factory will be the company’s third polydextrose facility. The transaction is subject to governmental approval which is expected later in the year.
"Tate & Lyle Acquires Winway Biotechnology, a Leading Chinese Polydextrose Business", News release, Tate & Lyle, March 13, 2014, © Tate & Lyle
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Unilever Buys Majority Stake In Chinese Water Purification Firm

March 9, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever says it has acquired a majority interest in Qinyuan, a high-tech Chinese water purification company founded in 1998. Unilever says the purchase is its biggest in China in 10 years. Qinyuan is one of the big players in China’s rapidly-expanding water purification market (20 percent annual growth since 2011). The company’s 2013 sales were 140 million euros ($194 million). With 2,500 employees, Qinyuan makes water purifiers, drinking water equipment and water treating membranes. A Unilever spokesman said the deal would double its water purification business.
"Unilever buys majority share in China water business", Yahoo! News, March 09, 2014, via Agence France Presse -- English, © Agence France Presse -- English
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Walmart Closes Store In China

March 5, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart Stores closed a store in Chongqing, China, due to poor sales. With poor site selection being blamed for the store’s anemic turnover, the store closure marks the first for Walmart in the city, which the retailer entered 10 years ago. In November and December 2013, Walmart closed 10 stores across the country, due to poor sales and growing competition from online retailers. China’s online retail market accounted for less than 10 percent of total sales of consumer goods in 2013; however, the market posted 1.89 billion yuan worth in transactions during the year. Also, Walmart is facing serious competition from Chinese retailers.
"Walmart closes store in China", Business Standard, March 05, 2014, © Business Standard Ltd.
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Tesco Stops Using Brand Name In China After Merger Of Local Operations With CRE

February 25, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
UK’s retailer Tesco will stop using its brand name in China following the merger of its operations in the country with state-supported retailer China Resources Enterprise Ltd. According to local media reports, the merger would combine Tesco’s stores and shopping centers in China with CRE’s 2,986 stores under the Vanguard brand name. Tesco, which began operating in the country in 2004 but failed to secure a strong position in the market, will hold 20 percent of the joint venture, while CRE will control the company through its 80 percent stake. The merged business will have an 8.6 percent share of the retail market in China.
Wang Zhuoqiong , "Tesco brand reportedly to be dropped", China Daily, February 25, 2014, © China Daily Information Co (CDIC)
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Wal-Mart Revises Approach To Doing Business In China

February 21, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart is changing its business strategy in China by closing some of its big-box stores and focusing on private-label products and imported goods. China is an important component of Wal-Mart’s international expansion goals, but the world’s largest retailer lags behind market leader Sun Art Retail Group Ltd. and state-owned China Resources Enterprise Ltd. The retailer forecast full-year profit that is lower than what analysts had expected for fiscal 2015. Factors that drove down the company’s revenue included weaker international sales, which fell 0.4 percent to $37.67 billion; the November–January operating income, which dropped 45.8 percent due to store closures in Brazil and China, and a charge related to the company’s termination of business deals in India. Walmart’s failure to understand Chinese consumers, who prefer foreign brands for reliability and quality, and its emphasis on “everyday low prices” concept hampered its ability to grow its business in the country, market analysts said.
Nandita Bose and Adam Rose, "Wal-Mart's China syndrome a symptom of international woes", Reuters, February 21, 2014, © Thomson Reuters
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Avon Faces $132 Million Bill To Settle U.S. Bribery Invetigation

February 13, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Cosmetics company Avon Products said it may have to pay up to $132 million to settle a bribery investigation by the U.S. government into its overseas expansion. In 2011, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice began a probe into allegations of improper payments in China. Conducted under U.S. law as defined by the country’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, the investigation has caused Avon at least $300 million so far. Avon reported sales declined 10 percent to $2.7 billion while operating losses rose to $17 million, driven by weaker sales in North America and in emerging markets including Mexico, Russia, and China.
"Avon Products may face £80m bill to settle bribery investigation", The Guardian, February 13, 2014, © Guardian News and Media Limited
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JD.com's IPO Prospectus Comes With Too Much Candor

February 4, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Chinese online retailer JD.com filed the prospectus for its planned $1.5 billion U.S. public offering with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Apparently, the paperwork came with too much honesty, according to some observers. It detailed the company’s lack of experience in doing some of its businesses, such as Internet finance. It highlighted losses suffered by the company and warned potential investors it might not be able to make money. Also, the company admitted it is huddled by weak internal fraud controls and its financial reports may not be accurate. Its very strong sales growth, however, is expected to attract US investors. That is, if the company could overcome potential legal roadblocks and could actually get its shares listed in the country.
Heather Timmons , "This Chinese online retailer’s IPO documents could be a bit too candid", Quartz.com, February 04, 2014, © Quartz.com
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China's Number 2 Online Retailer JD.com Files For U.S. IPO

January 30, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
China’s second-largest online retailer JD.com filed for an initial public offering of its shares in the United States. Formerly known as 360Buy, JD.com has raised $2.23 billion in the past six years, with notable investors including the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Saudi Arabia’s billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Holding Co. Company founder and CEO Richard Liu controls about 46 percent of the company’s shares. In 2012, local media reports put a $7.3 billion for the company, which has tried to differentiate itself from rival ecommerce companies, including market leader Alibaba, by operating its own network of delivery providers and warehouses.
Aman Shah, "Alibaba rival JD.com files for U.S. listing", Reuters, January 30, 2014, © Thomson Reuters
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Alibaba Reports Strong Net Profit Gain, Slower Revenue Growth In 3Q

January 29, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Chinese ecommerce company Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd. reported net profit of $792 in the third quarter. Revenue increased 51 percent to $1.78 billion, significantly slower than the 61 percent growth reported in the previous quarter. For the third quarter of the previous year, Alibaba reported a net loss of $246 million, due to the $550 million charge to purchase some of its shares from Yahoo Inc., which currently owns 24% of the Chinese online company. Alibaba, whose coming IPO is expected to value the company at more than $100 billion, outpaced its competitors Tencent Holdings Ltd., which grew 34 percent; and Amazon.com Inc., which reported revenue grew 24 percent.
Juro Osawa, "Alibaba Swings to a Profit but Revenue Growth Slows", Wall Street Journal, January 29, 2014, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc
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Advertising Spend Reaches Record High In Hong Kong In 2013

January 28, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Advertising spending in Hong Kong rose 9 percent to reach a record high of HK$43.1 billion in 2013, driven by the strong recovery in ad campaigns in the second half of the year. Data from media monitoring firm admanGo revealed banking and investment services was the top industry in terms of ad spending, while Procter & Gamble was the territory’s largest advertiser. In February 2013, the Hong Kong Advertising Association predicted a modest annual growth for the market, citing persistent factors affecting the economy, such as Samsung Electronics’ reduction of its advertising budget. Ad spending by cosmetics and skincare companies grew 10 percent to HK$3.6 billion, while the pharmaceuticals and healthcare industry’s ad spending rose 12 percent to HK$3.3 billion.
Bien Perez , "Hong Kong advertising spending hits record on second-half rebound", South China Morning Post , January 28, 2014, © South China Morning Post Publishers Ltd
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Wal-Mart Plans Upgrades For Vendor Compliance In China

January 28, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said it plans to upgrade its vendor compliance process in China, after it was accused by state-owned China Central Television of violating the country’s vendor permit policies to jack up its profits. As part of its compliance efforts, Wal-Mart will expand its inspection of vendors’ fulfillment documents for products sold at its stores and will collect more documents to verify product labels, test results, and product claims. Wal-Mart defended its compliance practices, saying accelerated product approvals are only for current suppliers. The company has encountered various obstacles in China, an important growth market for the U.S. retailer.
Laurie Burkitt, "Wal-Mart Boosting Compliance in China", Wall Street Journal, January 28, 2014, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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China Tightens Rules For Country's Online Market

January 27, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
China plans to implement stricter rules governing the country’s fast-growing ecommerce market. Driven by the millions of Chinese consumers who are discovering the online market for the first time, China’s ecommerce sector grew from $3 billion in 2009 to $64 billion in 2012, according to a report by the “South China Morning Post” newspaper. With the country set to become the world’s second-largest online retail market, with the business-to-consumer submarket forecast to expand by an average of 34 percent each year, the government was compelled to flex its regulatory muscles. Several laws covering the market will take effect on March 15, 2014.
Sophie Song, "China E-Commerce: Regulations For Protecting Consumers And Fighting Counterfeit To Take Effect In March", International Business Times, January 27, 2014, © IBT Media Inc.
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Doing Business In China Gets Harder, Becomes Less Attractive For Foreign Companies

January 25, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Foreign companies are finding it harder and less attractive to do business in China as economic growth slows down and costs rise. China’s government is expanding its restrictive economic policies to include more industries in addition to banking, brokerage, and Internet. As competition heats up further, with local brands developing high-quality and innovative products, some foreign companies, such as Revlon, Best Buy, and Media Markt, have left the country. Others reduced their exposure and operations, such as L’Oreal’s decision to stop selling its Garnier brand of cosmetics and retailer Tesco’s joint venture with a state-owned enterprise. Some companies that chose to stay are facing difficulties, such as IBM, which reported a 23 percent drop in China revenue in the last quarter of 2013; and French drinks company Remy Cointreau, which said sales of its Remy Martin cognac dropped by 30 percent in the first three quarters of 2013.
"China loses its allure", The Economist, January 25, 2014, © The Economist Newspaper Limited
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Alibaba Poses Most Serious Threat Yet To Amazon's Business Model

January 21, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
China’s online retailer Alibaba poses the most serious challenge yet to Amazon.com and its business model, which is based on the so-called three pillars —operating with low margins, helping customers find deals easily, and creating a lineup of customer-oriented services. Alibaba threatens Amazon with its no margins business; it earns money not from sales but from advertising and premium services. Unlike Amazon, Alibaba keeps its customers and operations away from online search engines. Also, Alibaba creates revenue no matter what kind of customers is accessing its online store. There are two ways that Amazon can respond to Alibaba’s disrupting effect: first, the online retailer can ignore the challenge and instead continue focusing on its most profitable customers and, second, it can create an independent business unit that would adopt Alibaba’s revenue model.
Juan Pablo Vazquez Sampere, "Alibaba: The First Real Test for Amazon’s Business Model", Harvard Business Review, January 21, 2014, © Harvard Business School Publishing
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L'Oreal Stops Selling Garnier Cosmetics In China

January 8, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
L’Oreal SA stopped selling its Garnier brand of cosmetics in China and will instead focus on its other brands. Citing the slowing market in China as the reason behind its move, L’Oreal said it will continue pushing its L’Oreal Paris and Maybelline New York brands in the country. A week before L’Oreal’s announcement, its American rival Revlon Inc. said it plans to withdraw completely from the China market. Currently valued at $25.9 billion, China’s cosmetics market is the world’s third largest and is forecast to grow 63 percent in the five-year period ending 2015 by market research firm Euromonitor. While it remains L’Oreal’s third largest market where it holds a 17 percent share, China’s cosmetics market is “slowing, although still dynamic,” the company said.
"L'Oreal ends Garnier sales in China amid slowdown", Reuters, January 08, 2014, © Thomson Reuters
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Fox DNA On Donkey Meat Prompts Wal-Mart To Adopt DNA Tests For Meat Sold In China

January 4, 2014: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced plans to perform DNA tests on meat it sells in China after identifying fox DNA in samples of donkey meat products from a local supplier. Wal-Mart recalled products from supplier Dezhou Fujude Food Company Ltd., while local authorities detained Dezhou Fujude officials after test results had shown the presence of fox DNA in samples. Offering compensation to affected customers, Wal-Mart also said it is considering legal action. In 2013, Wal-Mart said it plans to invest 100 million yuan in the next three years to improve food safety in China by launching a mobile food-inspection program and expanding supplier training.
Lauren Coleman-Lochner , "Wal-Mart Adds DNA Tests in China After Donkey-Meat Recall", Bloomberg , January 04, 2014, © Bloomberg L.P.
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Wal-Mart Plans Expansion For Sam's Club Wholesale Business In China

December 18, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to expand its Sam’s Club wholesale operations in China as part of its efforts to grow its business in China, currently one of the retailer’s most difficult markets. At present, the company operates 10 Sam’s Club stores in China, a country of more than 1.34 billion people, while in the United States, with 300 million people, Walmart operates 550 Sam’s Club stores. Walmart China chief executive Roger Foran said his company plans to open more Sam’s Clubs in China in 2014, eventually reaching 10 new stores per year in 6–7 years.
Laurie Burkitt, "Wal-Mart to Expand Sam's Clubs in China", Wall Street Journal, December 18, 2013, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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Emotions Playing Bigger Role In Consumer Buying Decisions In China, Study Shows

December 16, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Emotional factors are increasingly becoming an important influence on consumer buying decisions in China’s tiers 1–4 cities, according to market research firm GroupM. Of the 22 product categories covered by the study, such as automobile, cosmetics, skincare, and electronics, emotional drivers played the leading role in determining which products to buy, data from the Shan Hai Jin 2013 survey revealed. Results of the study also revealed Chinese consumers’ level of sophistication is rising, understanding their consumption behavior must rise above conventional tiers, geography, demographics, and social groups. Brands need to keep in mind that emotions play a significant role in promoting brand loyalty, especially among consumers in tiers 1 and 2 cities.
"Chinese consumers get more emotional", GroupM China, December 16, 2013, © WPP
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Walmart Launches Third-Party Payment Business In China's Shanghai Free Trade Zone

December 15, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart launched Niuhaidianshang, a third-party payment services company, in the Shanghai free trade zone in China. Walmart transferred its business from Yihaodian, a business-to-consumer ecommerce company it acquired in 2012 and which provides consumers with an online shopping platform. Taking advantage of the free trade zone's liberal policies, Walmart plans to use the new company to compete with third-party payment companies, such as Alibaba and 360buy.
"Walmart taps third-party payment services in China", WantChinaTimes.com, December 15, 2013, © WantChinaTimes.com
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China’s Commitment To GM Crops Is Challenged On Food Safety And Patriotic Grounds

December 14, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Growing public sentiment in China opposing genetically modified crops – often seen not only as a scary food safety issue but as a strategy by the U.S. to weaken China and control the world’s food supply – has created a predicament for China’s government. The Chinese food ministry -- and its agri-science community -- has long been committed to the use of genetically modified crops, and to the development of its own GM varieties. To that end, it has spent a lot of research money on GM technology, hoping to ensure self-sufficiency in food by increasing crop yields on limited farmland. More than 70 percent of China’s cotton is genetically modified. The imported (often from the U.S.) soybeans it overwhelmingly uses are GM. Five years ago the government approved safety certificates for GM varieties of rice and maize, but further approvals for commercial growing are delayed and certificates could expire – thanks to anti-GM pressure.
"Genetically modified crops: Food fight", The Economist, December 14, 2013, © The Economist Newspaper Limited
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China Bans Northwest U.S. Shellfish Imports Because of Contamination

December 12, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Geoduck clams, oysters and other two-shelled bivalves harvested off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Northern California have been banned from import into China, because of a contamination problem. Chinese government inspectors discovered that some of the clams were tainted with arsenic and a toxin that causes paralytic shellfish poisoning. U.S. officials are waiting for more information from China to determine the source of the contamination. The open-ended ban is seen as a major blow to the $270 million Northwest U.S. shellfish industry.
Ashley Ahearn and Katie Campbell and Anthony Schick, "China Imposes First-Ever West Coast Shellfish Ban", KUOW.org, December 12, 2013, © ERTHFX
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Unilever To Keep Expanding In China Despite Global Downsizing Plans, CEO Says

December 12, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever’s plans to lay off 2,000 employees and reduce its personal care product range by 10 percent will not affect its expansion plans in China, according to company CEO Paul Polman. Facing a slowdown in the personal care market, which is also affecting its main rivals Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive, and Johnson & Johnson, the company aims to cut costs by $683 million in 2014. In the third quarter of 2013, Unilever’s global sales grew 3.2 percent to €12.5 billion, compared with 5.9 percent in the same quarter in 2012. Sales in emerging markets, which account for 40 percent of the company’s sales, grew 6.2 percent, compared with 10.7 percent in the same quarter in the previous year.
"Unilever's planned cuts won't affect China expansion", Want China Times, December 12, 2013, © WantChinaTimes.com
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Natural Personal Care Market Posts Strong Growth In 2013, Study Shows

December 10, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
In 2013, the natural personal care market grew 10.6 percent to $29.5 billion at the manufacturers’ level, according to market research firm Kline & Company. Data from the report “Natural Personal Care: Global Market Brief” revealed Brazil and China posted the fastest-growing rates, with sales in China expanding by 24 percent and gradually challenging the global market share of the United States. Developed markets also showed strong growth, with the United States posting 7 percent and Europe, 6 percent. In China, both domestic and foreign brands are growing, although local brands account for about 80 percent of the market. Brazil’s market is dominated by local marketers Natura and O Boticário, which together hold about 85 percent of the segment. Since 2008, the world’s natural personal care market has been expanding with a CAGR of 11.3 percent and is forecast to grow 9.2 percent to reach $46 billion in 2018.
"At $29+ Billion, the Global Natural Personal Care Market is Naturally Strong, sees Kline ", Kline, December 10, 2013, © Kline & Company
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China Bans Phenol-Containing Whitening Cream From Avon

December 7, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
China’s Food and Drug Administration ordered the removal of Avon’s Naturals Rose and Rose Hips Fairness Cream skin-whitening cream from the market after it was found to contain phenol, a prohibited substance. According to Beijing Society for Environmental Science deputy secretary-general Dong Jinshi, the substance may affect female fertility and may cause liver and kidney damage. Avon’s China division said the cream is not included in its local catalogue; however, it is sold on Chinese online stores and has a serial number from local authorities.
"Avon whitening cream banned in China after phenol discovered", WantChinaTimes.com, December 07, 2013, © WantChinaTimes.com
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Carrefour Announces Expansion Plans In China; Says Will Focus On Smaller Cities

December 6, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Carrefour SA said it plans to open 20 new hypermarkets in China as part of its efforts to expand its presence in the country by entering 30 new cities and opening 60 new stores in the next three years. Currently operating 236 stores in 73 cities, Carrefour’s new expansion strategy focuses on China’s third- and fourth-tier cities. Although facing strong competition and challenges in the local retail market, Carrefour, which reported sales in China rose 4.7 percent in the third quarter, remains optimistic and sees many opportunities in the market.
Wang Zhuoqiong, "Carrefour shops around for new locations in China", China Daily, December 06, 2013, © China Daily Information Co (CDIC)
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Second- And Third-Rung Cities Drive Growth For China's Luxury Goods Market

November 20, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
China’s overtaking of Japan as the world’s largest consumer of luxury goods is driven by spending that came from the country’s tiers 1 and 2 cities. Data from marketing and media company Startcom MediaVest Group revealed more than third of the country’s luxury goods spending already comes from cities other than Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. While the company predicts consumer spending on luxury products will grow 8 percent in tier-1 cities, luxury spending by consumers in tiers 1 and 2 cities is forecast to grow at almost 16 percent. For example, the average income among tier-2 city Chendu’s 7 million residents has increased at 14–21 percent over the last three years, according to the city’s Statistics Bureau. Also, the city’s business attracts consumers from across the Sichuan Province, which has a population of more than 80 million and is home to more than 25,500 millionaires.
JEN LIN-LIU, "China's Smaller Cities Thirst for the Luxe Life", The New York Times, November 20, 2013, © The New York Times Company
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The Body Shop Welcomes China's Plan To Adopt Cruelty-Free Cosmetics Policy

November 8, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Beauty retailer The Body Shop said it welcomes reports that China is planning to revise its policies regarding testing for cosmetics manufactured in the country. Among the first cosmetics companies to campaign against animal testing for cosmetics, The Body Shop began its advocacy for cruelty-free cosmetics in 1989, becoming the first industry leader to lend its voice to the movement. In 1996, The Body Shop founder Anita Roddick joined Cruelty Free International’s founding organization BUAV.
"The Body Shop Welcomes the News Reports that The Chinese Food and Drug Administration will Adopt a New Approach to Animal Testing for Cosmetic Products ", PRNewswire , November 08, 2013, © PR Newswire Association LLC
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Western Brands Join Singles Day Online Shopping Rush In China

November 4, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
China’s Singles Day holiday offers Western brands an opportunity to expand their online presence in China. Created by university students in 1990s who figured the data November 11 or 11/11 resembled four lonely stick figures, the annual event has become the world’s largest ecommerce occurrence. In 2012, online transactions during the holiday overloaded banks, with Chinese ecommerce company reporting $3 billion in sales, which is twice the amount that all of the U.S. retailers jointly recover on Cyber Monday. Also referred to as Double 11, this year’s version of the informal holiday sees many Western brands, including Gap, Adidas, and Toys ‘R’ Us are pushing their discount deals and promos on online stores in China, such as Tmall and Taobao. Software giant Microsoft is joining Tmall for the first time this year.
Ad Age Staff, "How Western Brands Are Tapping Into China's Crazy-Big E-commerce Holiday", Advertising Age, November 04, 2013, © Crain Communications
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Walmart Plans To Develop Small Community Shopping Centers In China

November 1, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Walmart plans to develop small community shopping centers in China’s third- and fourth-tier cities, replicating its U.S. small-town community-based stores approach in the country. Walmart’s development strategy, which involves selecting locations in less popular cities including those in Guangdong Province, has been described as a smart move by market analysts, such as Wang Rong, vice president of Roland Berger Strategy Consultants’ Greater China office. With a Walmart supermarket or a Sam’s Club membership warehouse as the planned shopping centers’ anchor tenant, Walmart will not find it difficult to recruit other businesses as tenants. Despite market analysts’ endorsement of Walmart’s expansion plans in China, the retailer has been very cautious with its strategy, driven mainly by growing market competition. Commercial real estate investments in the country reached $82 billion in the first half of 2013 alone, with as many as 150 shopping centers opening or have been opened this year.
Tang Xiangyang, "Walmart Plans To Replicate U.S. Small-Town Strategy In China", Worldcrunch, November 01, 2013, © Worldcrunch
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Comfort Launches Selfie Campaign In China

October 28, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Unilever’s Comfort brand of fabric softeners partnered with mobile app Face Gossip to launch a marketing campaign in China. Aimed at consumers who love doing the “selfie” self-portrait and self-taken photography trend, the campaign includes a game that automatically measures the brightness level of clothes worn by the users who take their self portraits. Comfort offers clothes designed by celebrity fashion designer Zhang Jingjing as prizes for five lucky participants who also have to share their photographs on China’s leading social media site Sina Weibo.
Jenny Chan , "Comfort taps into 'selfie' photo trend to sell fabric softener in China", Campaign Asia, October 28, 2013, © Haymarket Media Ltd.
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Western Retailers Look At Ecommerce To Expand Business In China

October 27, 2013: 12:00 AM EST
Western retailers are increasingly adopting ecommerce to reach more consumers in China, following the footsteps of local online retailer Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. Despite the potential for success offered by ecommerce, many foreign companies, including eBay Inc., Google Inc., and Groupon Inc., have found the online business harder than it looks in China. Western retailers have to compete with local online giants and must find ways to deal with distribution-related difficulties in the country and Chinese online shoppers’ passion for low prices. All these issues notwithstanding, China’s ecommerce market, which overtook the U.S. in 2013 to become the world’s largest and is forecast to reach $540 billion by 2015, is simply too big to ignore. Consulting firm Bain & Co. says the online retail market in China has grown more than 70 percent annually since 2009, compared with the U.S. market’s 13 percent.
Kathy Chu, "Western Retailers See Online as Ticket to China", Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2013, © Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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