China Market Update March 3rd 2020


  • have announced their Q4 2019 and full year results. Revenues jumped 26.6% YOY to ¥170.7 billion (US$24.5B). CEO Richard Liu cited strong market growth – particularly in lower tier cities Read More.
  • For comparisons sake, Alibaba announced their earnings earlier in February: Q4 Revenues jumped 38% to ¥161.4 billion (US$23.2B) Read More.
  •’s strong performance during the COVID-19 crisis has been attributed to the ‘goodwill’ created by their response Read More, such as the creation of jobs Read More, swift implementation of new logistics and order fulfilment technologies Read More and importantly, humanitarian support for frontline health-workers and victims of COVID-19 Read More.
  • The number of Taobao Live (streaming) broadcast rooms has doubled 110% YOY Read More. However, rather than focusing on sales, streamers have shifted their focus to growing audiences Read More – CN.
  • Alibaba’s Luohan Academy has released a research paper titled ‘Jumpstarting Recovery Amid the COVID-19 Outbreak’. While 96% of businesses indicated that they expect to suffer losses from reduced orders and customers, the vast majority remained overly optimistic in the medium-long term, whilst 90% of sellers indicated they will not be cutting jobs Read More.
  • Videos are surfacing of innovative measures being undertaken to facilitate contactless deliveries Video 1, and security measures being employed on eCommerce fulfilment lines Video 2.
  • Douyin is becoming more popular amongst middle-aged and elderly consumers, leading some to forecast emerging opportunities in areas such as elderly skincare and cosmetics Read More – CN.
  • Many retail shopping malls -who have traditionally been conservative about creating a virtual shopping experience, have been forced to rethink their strategies amidst COVID-19. Virtual shopping tours have emerged as a strong trend, while luxury malls launch innovative campaigns Read More.
  • Chinese-born ‘C-Beauty’ cosmetics brands are becoming increasingly dominant, a signal that ‘Made in China’ is now emerging as an indicator of quality in the mainland Read More.
  • Struggling fashion and lifestyle eCommerce platform Jumei is to become a private company Read More.
  • China’s online grocery retail industry is forecast to benefit long-term by COVID-19. Meituan reported a 200% YOY jump in fresh produce sales, a 400% jump in seafood sales, whilst average order sizes jumped 70%. There has been strong growth in self-operated eCommerce platforms, Grocery retailer marketplace platforms, group-purchasing and independent WeChat seller groups Read More.
  • Hangzhou’s Internet Court is soon to hear a case brought against a Taobao seller caught selling fake masks Read More.
  • Some of the best-faring product categories throughout COVID-19 include groceries and kitchen products, electronics, indoor exercise and fitness products, entertainment, real-estate and cars Read More.

Cross-Border Trade and Supply Chains

  • 150 prescription drugs are at risk of shortage if COVID19 worsens in China Read More.
  • China’s investment in Africa is driving a close, multifaceted interdependent relationship Podcast.
  • COVID-19 has revealed how dependent global supply chains are on China, with Amazon sellers globally facing stock shortages Read More.
  • Alibaba’s Cross-Border D2C platform AliExpress, as well as its’ South-East Asian B2C eCommerce platform Lazada, have both experienced significant YOY growth. Lazada’s orders jumped 97% YOY in Q4, 2019, meanwhile AliExpress’ daily Active Users jumped 56% in December Read More.
  • After decades, Mastercard has finally been cleared to join the China market Read More.

Digital Marketing and Technology

  • On Friday, Tencent WeChat commenced blocking links to (TikTok founder) Bytedance’s popular Feishu app. The move signals intensifying competition between the two tech giants Read More.
  • Bytedance has launched a standalone app for its’ Toutiao search engine, as a further challenge to Baidu’s market dominance Read More.
  • In China, facial payments can now be made regardless of fake beards and facemasks Read More.
  • More than half of Chinese workers surveyed in a recent iiMedia study Read More reveal that they have adapted very well to remote work, leading some to speculate that remote work may become a long-term trend Read More.
  • As luxury market spend grows, consumer behaviours change, and consumer networks evolve: luxury brands in China are diversifying their marketing mix across a broader range of platforms (i.e. not just WeChat), meanwhile storytelling is becoming richer and more engaging, and consumer experiences are becoming increasingly personalised Read More.
  • Milan Fashion Week has taken to livestreaming in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The event opened showcasing solidarity with China, under the banner ‘China, We Are With You’ Read More. Similarly, last week, fashion retailer Lianvin partnered with video-platform Iqiyi to livestream their recent Paris fashion show Read More.

Overseas Movement and Travel

  • Australia has declared that it expects that COVID-19 will become a global pandemic and extended its’ China travel ban Read More. Meanwhile, the first locally-transmitted cases have arisen in NSW Read More.
  • Monthly active users on travel platforms dropped 40% between Chinese New Year 2019-2020 Read More.
  • Airbnb Read More and numerous American Airlines Read More recently announced that hosts/guests/passengers impacted by COVID19 can cancel reservations without charges.
  • China’s Online Travel Agencies have been forced to adopt several contingency measures and initiatives to offset the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis. They have provided guarantees for order cancellations for consumers (i.e. flights, hotels etc), which they are counterbalancing with commission reductions, fee-exemptions and even loans for their suppliers (i.e. businesses, hotels etc.) Read More
  • Amazon, Twitter, Nestle, Apple, Facebook and Google, LG, Unilever, CNN, Microsoft, and many other multinational companies have restricted employee travel to COVID-19 affected areas Read More.
  • China is set to ease permanent residency requirements for highly skilled foreigners capable of contributing to China’s development Read More – CN. The announcement has been met with mixed enthusiasm amongst Chinese netizens Read More – EN.
  • Having now spread to 60 countries worldwide, the COVID-19 breakout is now biting into tourists overseas holiday plans all over world Read More.
  • The Guardian has released a list of countries with COVID-19 travel bans in place Read More.

Miscellaneous Interest

  • NASA images demonstrate dramatic improvement in air quality amid the COVID-19 crisis Read More.
  • Amidst staff-shortages, there has been a scramble of businesses rushing to deploy automation technologies and robots to ease the COVID-19 challenges, particularly in manufacturing Read More.

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