China is the second latest economy in the world, every significant brand's future is impacted by its growth (or collapse!); but who's got the time?! Check out our weekly hotpot of reads that will make you look like a keen China observer during any conversation about China. Above, a 2012 Comic-Con promo for DC Comics' three-part series, Batman in Shanghai, ahead of The Dark Knight Rises Aug. 30 opening in China. And below: the iPad makes a quiet arrival, Adidas no longer "Made in China," the NBA, "House Slaves," robots (ROBOTS!) and more.
Apple’s New iPad Makes Eerily Quiet Beijing Debut
Wall Street Journal: "'But from what I read I didn’t expect it to be as crowded,” he said. “iPad launches haven’t been as bad as iPhone launches.' He also complained about the how long it has taken for the new iPad to come out in China. The new iPad, which has improved screen resolution and faster data-connection capabilities, was unveiled in March in the U.S."
Already Valued at $4B, China’s Xiaomi Declares War on Apple
Pando Daily: "Xiaomi also has an unconventional sales strategy. It makes its phones available for purchase only when a large-enough batch of devices is available for distribution. That means its sales come in spikes, which are weeks or even months apart. But those spikes are intense." (Related Reading: How The Xiaomi Phone Is Made)
High-End & High Street Brands Fight It Out
Jing Daily: "The debut of Abercrombie & Fitch in Hong Kong is quite interesting, as it reflects how major high street brands are, in some ways, outdoing luxury brands by taking over some very prominent locations in key cities. Another example in Hong Kong is Forever 21."
From "House Slaves" to "Banana People": Modern China in Seven Words
Foreign Policy: "'House slaves' (fangnu) People "enslaved" to their high mortgage payments are now referred to as "house slaves," a coinage that now joins "car slaves" and "credit card slaves" in the dictionary. Buying a home, often seen as a pre-requisite for Chinese males to get married, has grown increasingly difficult over the last decade as housing prices have skyrocketed in Beijing, Shanghai, and other major cities. In 2009, authorities banned a television drama called Snail House, which depicted a couple's struggles to buy and own a home in a Shanghai-like city. The show was popular because the high price of property is a flashpoint in China for anger and resentment over the widening gap between rich and poor — always a recipe for social unrest. Last March, the National Development and Reform Commission announced an aggressive new "social housing" plan, which aims to build 36 million apartments by the end of 2015. Indeed, liangxian fang ("two-limit homes") a housing program referring to apartments limited in both size and price for the urban poor, is another new term included in this year's Xinhua Dictionary."
Disneyland with Chinese characteristics
People's Daily: "Instead of being home to any single princess, the castle in Shanghai will be home to all of Disney's princesses, including Snow White and Pocahontas."
Yao Ming Joins With NBA in Developing Youth Basketball in China
Bloomberg: The NBA and the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) are in the third year of a program that has trained more than 200 coaches. The NBA opened a training center in China in 2011 for elite players ages 12-17 called the CBA Dongguan Basketball School, the first such league-operated facility in the world. (Related: NBA China Games 2012 to feature two Heat-Clippers games)
Migrant Workers in China Face Competition from Robots
Technology Review: "Wang stresses that Foxconn can't replace human workers right away because automating assembly lines would require rejiggering its entire manufacturing process. Larger changes in China also won't occur overnight. Smaller Chinese factories can't afford to invest in robotics, and factory wages are still relatively low—about $315 to $400 per month in the Pearl River Delta, according to Liu Kaiming, director of a Shenzhen-based labor organization called the Institute of Contemporary Observation." (Related: Foxconn (Soon to be) Criticized for Unsafe Robot Working Conditions)
Coke Olympics Campaign Gets Local Twist in China
Ad Age: "'Previous research showed that after the huge success and high relevance of '08 (the Beijing Olympics), there was a perceived distance between Chinese people and London. The main task was to close that emotional and physical distance in a relevant way,' said Marina Palma, (Coca-Cola) sparkling director for China."
Adidas to Quit China for Southeast Asia amid rising costs
Want China Times: "Although the brand's sales have been increasing, the firm has not able to totally offset the impact of rising costs in China. Its profit margins decreased 0.7%, to 47.7%, in the first quarter of this year. Industrial insiders consider rising costs the main factor causing Adidas to close its Suzhou factory. The company opened 1,175 stores and 6,700 outlets last year in China, and plans to increase the number of its stores in Greater China to 2,500 by 2015, according to the daily."
Anheuser-Busch Fined for Illegal Brewing in China
Want China Times: "The authorities immediately visited two local supermarkets and found two batches of Harbin Beer made on Oct. 22 and Dec. 11, 2011. They also discovered that the company's brewing license had expired on July 7, a few months earlier, and that no application for an extension of the license had been filed." (Related: Shaq Helps Harbin Beer)
Below, Louis Vuitton buys the whole front page of the China Daily newspaper for its Shanghai opening: