China is the second largest economy in the world, every significant brand's future is impacted by its growth (or collapse!); but who's got the time?! A weekly potpourri of ten reads that will make you look like a keen China observer during any conversation about China.
Vivienne Tam Slippers for Hilton, wealth inequality, Walmart, baijiu, Popcap, doggies, translating Spanish brand names, the Lingerie Football League comes to China and more...
At top, Lay's launches new Pepsi-sauteed flavored chips in China.
At Hilton, Vivienne Tam Slippers for Chinese Guests
"The new slippers are available to guests who participate in Huanying Hilton, a program the hotel came out with last year to cater to Chinese travelers. Named after the Mandarin word for 'welcome,' services include language assistance, Chinese-language programming on televisions, in-room tea kettles and Chinese breakfast items on the menu." (Non-Chinese fans of the designer can buy the slippers for $28 online.)
Se vende en China: The Best Chinese Translations of Spanish-Language Brands.
"The brandname Monarca is translated phonetically to 蒙娜卡, pronounced meng na ka. The first character is part of Mongolia, the second is common in girls’ names and the third means card, but a Chinese person wouldn’t think of those meanings, since these characters are often used to represent foreign words. The name meng na ka simply sounds foreign.
But this phonetic approach can also backfire."
Related Reading: In China? Pick Your Brand Name Carefully
Sina Weibo to Issue Social Credit Cards
"This is perhaps the most successful addition that Sina Weibo has made since launch. Today the DaRen user group is 4 million strong and 90% of are daily actives, according to its operation manager at Sina.
To cash in on this group, Sina is launching a social credit card with China Merchants Bank, which has a history working with internet companies."
Related Reading: No notable revenue from Weibo
Unleashed: China’s emerging pet market
"According to data compiled by the HK government, about 10 million mainland families have one or more pets, and sales of related products reached approximately RMB 40 billion last year. Local reports provide lower estimates, closer to RMB 20 billion. Dry food is the most popular product category, following by health products, toys, wet food, and pet fashion. Beijing and Shanghai have over 3,500 and 2,000 pet-related stores, and the market in Guangzhou, Chongqing, Chengdu, Nanjing, and Hangzhou is also relatively developed. But even in large cities like Shanghai and Beijing, less than 10% of owners buy specialized food for their pets, compared to about 60% in Taiwan."
Not your father’s baijiu
"There’s clearly a market opening for someone that can convince China’s younger drinkers to get back on the baijiu bandwagon, but as long as Chinese spirit manufacturers continue to rake in record-breaking profits, none are going to do much soul-searching. Thus it should come as little surprise that the first attempt at making the baijiu of tomorrow comes from a new player with an outsider’s perspective.
Vin & Spirit, the Swedish spirits company responsible for Absolut, entered the baijiu market in 2007 though a joint-venture with the Sichuan-based Jiannanchun. When Vin & Spirit was bought out by French liquor bohemoth Pernod Ricard (Jameson, Chivas Regal, etc.) in 2007, the new JV, called Tianchengxiang (or TCX), was also absorbed. Earlier this year they released their first two baijius, the eponymous Tianchengxiang (an excellent mixed-aroma baijiu reviewed here) and Purfeel (pronounced “pure feel”). While other baijius on the market aim to embody the past, Purfeel, whose slogan literally translates “modern baijiu,” is a different beast altogether."
Related Reading: Higher spirits
Walmart’s Master Plan to Sell China to Itself
"Walmart faces challenges in the Chinese market that simply don’t apply in the U.S., where the Bentonville, Arkansas-based chain enjoys almost-mythological status as the invincible low-price slayer of all competition, including mom-and-pop small businesses. In China, European and domestic retailers vie competitively with Walmart for the coveted Chinese consumer’s yuan. Walmart’s image took a hit when authorities in the city of Chongqing shut down several Walmart stores and detained dozens of employees over allegations the stores mislabeled conventional pork as organic. Foreign companies must also navigate a government bureaucracy that exists in part to keep non-Chinese businesses from gaining too much control over domestic markets."
Related Reading: Wal-Mart’s New Online Biz – A China E-Commerce Teachable Moment
Urban-rural income gap gets bigger: report
"As about 40 percent of farmers' net income was used to purchase chemical fertilizer, pesticide, seeds and other means of production, deducting these expenses, China's urban income was about 5.2 times that of the countryside, said the report.
The figure for income gap is about 26 percent higher than that of 1997 and 68 percent higher than that of 1985, it said, adding it far exceeded figures of the same kind in many foreign countries."
Lingerie Football League eyes China expansion
"'His master plan calls for selling an entire LFL circuit to 'large scale sports entities' that could then operate them themselves.'
China, without doubt, Mortaza noted, has tremendous potential for his sport with its booming economy."
Caffeine & Culture: Galleria Illy To Make China Debut In Beijing
"Continuing its worldwide march, which previously hit New York, Milan, Trieste, Berlin and London, Galleria illy — a pop-up on steroids that hosts exhibitions, talks and performances by some of the world’s leading artists, writers and cultural curators — is set to make its China debut in Beijing on October 26. Launching at Beijing’s Parkview Green mall (芳草地购物中心), which will also host the inaugural mainland China location of H&M’s Collection of Style (COS) this fall, Galleria illy Beijing is the nearly 80-year-old coffee roaster’s latest overture to the Chinese market. Looking to combat the growing dominance of American rival Starbucks — which currently operates more than 500 stores throughout China — illy has spent the last several years in China building its brand via a savvy expansion scheme, which prioritized five-star hotels and upscale restaurants over massive cafe construction or mid-range product lines. Galleria illy Beijing, which will run for nearly six weeks, is its latest attempt to position itself as a high-end, sophisticated competitor to the more mass-market Starbucks."
Sina Weibo Win Twitter During London Olympics
"Meanwhile, a new data analysis has compared the four top Twitter-like competitors in China: Sina, Tencent, Sohu and Netease. Sina had the most visitors to its Weibo service over the 17 days of the Olympics with 310 million visits. Tencent came in a distant second with 200 million, followed by Sohu with 120 million and Netease with 40 million. The amount of time that users spent on the site, showed Sina had an impressive lead with a 70.6 percent share. The most discussed athletes on weibo were swimmers and gymnast. (We believe this is not true, now it should be the 110 meter hurdler…) The figures only include PC traffic, so it certainly don’t offer a complete picture of the social network in China, since nowadays mobile platform has already dominates China internet."
Related Reading: London morphed into the Twitter Games, 140 characters at a time
Related Viewing: Below, Weibo users spoof Nike China's Olympic "Live your Greatness" campaign with the leaders of China's top Internet companies.