China Market Update March 31st 2020
Bryan Car CEO RooLife Group

Bryan Carr,

CEO, Roolife Group

The New Global ‘Normals’

With the COVID19 crisis subsiding in China, normality is gradually returning to everyday live. Enhanced by the advent of Spring, there is a strong sense that China is potentially the safest place in the world to be right now. As testament to all of the above, China has publicly renewed their focus on a Mars Mission, rumoured for launch later in 2020.

However, as discussed in last week’s update, It’s important for businesses to recognise that China is now a very different place. Technology is now far more engrained into almost every facet of everyday life – including in the home, at hospitals, in the workplace, at schools, and also, just generally out in the public realm.
As Australia enters its’ own lockdown, it’s important that we reflect on the lessons learned from China, if we seek to retain our sanity and in some cases, our marriages. Roolife’s team met up earlier this week to listen and learn from the quarantine experiences of our Guangzhou team members (See below).

We hope you enjoy this week’s article.

Quarantine and Isolation Advice from RooLife’s Guangzhou Team

  • Plan your day ahead of time. Set clear schedules, otherwise your working hours will almost certainly spill into your personal and family life.
  • Become familiar with video conferencing and team collaboration platforms. Check in with your team each morning so that everyone knows you’re active and working, and schedule regular catch-ups with friends, family and of course, coworkers.
  • Get dressed first thing in the morning, otherwise, you’ll end up wearing pyjamas for months.
  • Distance yourself from social media and the news. Open up that book you’ve been putting off  for months instead. You’ll notice an immediate boost in your emotional health and productivity once you do!

eCommerce & Retail

Woman standing outside China Nike Store

Nike: Offsetting COVID19 Retail Losses through eCommerce

Nike’s decision to shift focus to eCommerce in the midst of China’s initial virus outbreak enabled the company to significantly offset the losses sustained in their retail outlets.

Chinese couple online shopping

China to Drive Global eCommerce Sales Up 43% by 2024

China’s eCommerce industry, set to undergo 62% value growth in its’ own right over the next four years, will drive global eCommerce transactions up to US$4.8 trillion by 2024.

Shanghai Fashion Week Cloud Catwalk

Alibaba Takes Aim at Pinduoduo

Alibaba’s new ‘Taobao Special Offer Edition’ platform target’s Pinduoduo’s user base: connecting customers directly to manufacturers (C2M). Last week, as the app topped China’s free downloads, several Pinduoduo employees took to Weibo accusing Alibaba of blocking their Taobao accounts.

Shanghai Fashion Week Cloud Catwalk

SH Fashion Week Goes Online

Following the postponing of Shanghai fashion week, the organisers pivoted. Instead, they broadcasted the show via livestream in collaboration with Alibaba’s Tmall. The move has been praised as ambitious, brave and necessary; ensuring that businesses will not miss out on their seasonal demand.

Other Bites in eCommerce & Retail

  • When COVID19 shook China to its’ core in mid-January, Alibaba’s Freshippo (formerly HEMA) had to adapt very quickly: to panic buyers, surging online demand, staff shortages and literal supply chain roadblocks.
  • China Skinny’s case study on Les Mills reveals how a fitness company was able to grow their digital presence in China throughout the COVID19 outbreak, despite the gym industry being amongst the hardest hit.
  • Xiaohongshu (Little Red Book) have officially launched livestreaming on their platform. Louis Vuitton was the first luxury brand to take advantage of the new channel. Earlier this month, they also became the first luxury brand to publish content on their WeChat Channels – garnering 100K views in a matter of days.
  • Take a minute to read about the reopening experiences of these Chinese business owners.
  • Experts are speculating that China’s retail industry may be due tor an upswing, in a similar fashion to the the surge in demand for food, cosmetic and apparel following the 2002-3 SARS outbreak.
  • HeyTea, the poster child for O2O services in China, have secured a US$2.3 billion valuation after a recent fund raising.
  • China’s booming online wine industry survived China’s COVID19 outbreak almost unaffected, driven largely by surging demand from millennials.
  • Pinduoduo is helping the New York Met Museum to implement livestreaming technology.
  • China is beefing up its’ international cargo fleet to support global supply chains.

Digital Marketing & Technology

Alipay Logo with Alibaba and Ant Financial

Over 2 Million People Have Used Alipay to Find a Job

In a bid to offset China’s 6.2% unemployment rate (the highest ever), Alipay is launching contactless job fairs’ to connect 60,000 companies with job seekers.

Woman Uses oculus Rift VR Headset

Will COVID19 Spur A Virtual Reality Revolution?

Despite blocked supply chains inhibiting sales, COVID19 is speculated to be the catalyst likely to spur the mass-adoption of VR technologies.

Meituan Dianping Delivery Helmet

China’s Stimulus Package: Powered by WeChat

The Qingdao district government is distributing coupons to their citizens via WeChat pay, in a move to boost consumption. This comes as the central government is actively encouraging consumers to spend money to offset the challenges being faced by the economy.

Meituan Dianping Delivery Helmet

Meituan Dianping Shuts Down its Public Cloud Service

In a big win for competitors Alibaba and Tencent, Meituan Dianping is shutting down its’ public cloud service, to retain focus on its’ core businesses. The move comes only months after investing roughly $123 million into its’ cloud subsidiaries.

Other Bites in Digital Marketing & Technology

  • Ehang, the Chinese passenger drone manufacturer has quadrupled revenues and significantly cut losses throughout the COVID19 crisis.
  • Following the plummet in rideshare demand, Lyft drivers are being scooped up by Amazon.
  • According to Tencent’s executives, China is well and truly back in business.
  • WeChat has launched a new payment product called Fenfu, enabling customers to postpone bill repayment whilst still collecting goods. The move signals rising competition between Tencent and Alipay owner Ant Financial.
  • Tencent is collaborating with Huawei to develop a new cloud game platform.
  • China is actively encouraging consumers to upgrade to 5G technology. This comes as telecommunications companies double down on their 5G infrastructure investments.
  • Chinese company Megvii has become the first Chinese company to launch an open-source AI (deep learning) platform MegEngine.
  • In a post COVID19 China, brands will need to practice real-time digital and cultural sensitivity, as well as being nimble enough to adapt to an increasingly digitised, intelligent and rapidly evolving competitive environment.
  • Baidu is making big plays in the autonomous driving space, having announced the development of an ‘autonomous test driving zone’ in Yangquan.
  • Jet Workflow have released a free cloud-based productivity suite which helps SME’s track the spread of COVID19 in their workplace.

Travel & Tourism

Plane flies over Shanghai skyline

Short-Notice Flight Bookings Surge Across China

In a trend which screams ‘pent up demand’, China is seeing surge for short-notice flight bookings – departing in the next 15 days – at 58% overall compared to 38% in January.

Flight Map compares March 25 Flight traffic 2019 vs 2020

Video: Flight Traffic Comparison March 2019 vs March 2020

This striking video shows the stark difference in the UK’s air traffic in the midst of COVID19 relative to the same day one year prior.

Zhejiang Workers in Teafield

Foreigners Temporarily Barred From Entering China

Last week, China’s foreign ministry has officially announced that they will be barring foreign nationals from entry to China, as of Saturday March 28th. The bar is likely to extend for at least several months. Given the rapid acceleration of cases across the globe, the move was inevitable, although it will be detrimental for the normalisation of China’s economy.

Zhejiang Workers in Teafield

Zhejiang Province Issues Vouchers to Promote Tourism

The government of Zhejiang province in eastern China has issued coupons worth roughly US$140 million to tourists, in a bid to boost tourism and consumption.


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