Thursday, November 23, 2017

Dilemma's for brands when coming to China - Ben Cavender

Ben Cavender
Victoria Secret's high-profile problems with authorities in Shanghai were not the first when big brands try to organize events in China, nor will they be the last. Brands are simply not aware enough of politically or morally sensitive issues, different from their home market, says branding experts Ben Cavender to Reuters.

Reuters:
The issue has underscored a dilemma for global brands, sports franchises, moviemakers and performers looking to tap China’s big-spending consumers while keeping on the right side of often stringent rules about content and behaviour. 
“Brands have to be much more aware of politically or morally sensitive topics here,” said Ben Cavender, Shanghai-based principal at China Market Research Group, adding the lure of the market meant most people would nevertheless take risks. 
“It’s a very different political environment than their home markets and we’re at a time when China is on a drive to clean up behaviour and push a sort of moral code.” 
China has long kept tight control of performers it allows into the country. Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Bjork and Bon Jovi are all banned over perceived bad behaviour or for broaching sensitive topics like Tibet or Taiwan.
More in Reuters.

Ben Cavender is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers' request form.

Are you looking for more branding experts at the China Speakers Bureau? Do check out this list.  

Why it is good to be an author in China - Zhang Lijia

Zhang Lijia
While most of the media stress government control on journalists and authors, Zhang Lijia, author of Lotus: A Novel on prostitution in China, sees huge advantages too, she tells the blog Women and Gender in China (WAGIC). "Internationally Chinese women writers are almost invisible. This is another reason that I want to keep writing."

WAGIC:
S: What would you say are the opportunities and challenges of being a (female) writer in China today? 
China is the seventh heaven for writers and journalists. Like any society that is going through such rapid social transformation, there’s always tension and drama – these are exactly what writers and journalists seek after.
It is difficult to be a writer anywhere in the world. In China, most writers have to deal with the extra challenge of facing censorship. Right now, the publishing and writing fields are still male-dominated. Internationally Chinese women writers are almost invisible. This is another reason that I want to keep writing. 
S: One of the areas that you talk about in your public speaking is the changing role of women in Chinese society. What would you say are the main challenges facing women today? 
LJ: The main challenges facing women today is the deeply rooted male chauvinism and the growing gender inequality. Market economy has placed women in an unfavourable position. But I am optimistic because women have taken the matter into their own hands, as reflected in the growing activism since 2012. It would have been much better if such activism is tolerated by the authorities.  
S: What do you have planned next? 
LJ: I am writing a literary non-fiction on China’s left behind children. Coming from a journalist background, I found fiction writing extremely challenging. In this non-fiction book, I plan to apply some fictional techniques I’ve learnt, such as setting the scene, good dialogue, sense of suspense and character development, which, hopefully, will make the book more engaging and literary.
More in WAGIC.

Zhang Lijia is a speaker on the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need her at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers' request form.

Are you looking for more experts on cultural change at the China Speakers Bureau? Do check out this list.

  

More control and more openness: China conundrum - Victor Shih

Victor Shih
China's economy is more and more controlled by the state, but the country is also pledging more openness. Political analyst Victor Shih looks at CNBC whether China can deal with this conundrum, or not. China's agenda and ambitions are clear, but now how they might work out, he says.

Victor Shih is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers' request form.

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More at CNBC.
Leveraging is expanding too rapidly in China, academic says from CNBC.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Is Alibaba cooking the Single's Day books? - Paul Gillis

Paul Gillis
China's e-commerce giant booked another record during its Single's Day in 2017. But what figures is the company actually reporting? Beida accounting professor Paul Gillis dives into the figures at his Chinaaccountingblog.

Paul Gillis:
Alibaba had another spectacular singles day, reporting US$25.3 billion of gross merchandise volume settled through Alipay. Business Insider reports that this nearly doubled the $12.8 billion that US retailers sold between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday last year. 
"More than US$25 billion of GMV in one day is not just a sales figure," said Daniel Zhang, Chief Executive Officer of Alibaba Group. "It represents the aspiration for quality consumption of the Chinese consumer, and it reflects how merchants and consumers alike have now fully embraced the integration of online and offline retail." 
Actually, Zhang is wrong. GMV is not at all a sales figure (although it may well represent the aspirations of the Chinese consumer).  Alibaba does not report GMV as revenue (or sales), Instead Alibaba reports the transaction fees it charges to sellers.  In its fiscal year 2017, Alibaba reported 114 billion RMB of revenue on GMV of 3.8 trillion RMB. 
Analysts love GMV, which they believe gives a more meaningful view as to the volume of business going through the platform. A major problem is that GMV is not a defined accounting term, and the numbers are unaudited.
More at the Chinaaccountingblog.

Paul Gillis is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers' request form.

Are you looking for more financial experts at the China Speakers Bureau? Do check out this list.  

Is the China-US tension inevitable? - Shaun Rein

Shaun Rein
That is one of the key questions Shaun Rein asks in his upcoming book The War for China's Wallet: Profiting from the New World Order. On his LinkedIn page he invites you to discuss that important questions. Some of the participants might win a digital copy of the book.

Shaun Rein:
WCW looks at how China is cementing its power through economic carrots/ initiatives like One Belt One Road and by punishing countries like South Korea & Norway and companies like Lotte that do not follow its wants politically. The book looks at how China is dealing with Southeast Asia, the Korean Peninsula, the Middle East, and how the US needs to respond. 
These are turbulent times politically, and I wrote this book to help governments and companies understand how to navigate China's rising political ambitions. Many argue a war between the US and China is inevitable -- I disagree with this notion but better understanding is key as are building economic ties.
More at Shaun Rein's LinkedIn page.



Shaun Rein is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers' request form.

Are you looking for more stories by Shaun Rein? Do check out this page.  

Why works the sharing economy in China? - Jeffrey Towson

Jeffrey Towson
Huge usage of mobile phones, popular internet payment systems and 1.4 billion users are some of the elements that explain why the sharing economy in China is doing so well, says Jeffrey Towson, investment professor at the Peking University at the TV program China Matters.

Jeffrey Towson is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers' request form.  

Are you looking for more experts on e-commerce at the China Speakers Bureau? Do check out this list.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Multinationals: losing to local brands - Shaun Rein

Shaun Rein
Multinationals are increasingly losing markets to local competitors, says business analyst Shaun Rein, author of The War for China's Wallet: Profiting from the New World Order to Bloomberg, and founder of the China Market Research Group. “Multinationals underestimated local competition,” said Shaun Rein.

Bloomberg:
Asia traditionally was considered easy money for Western multinationals, with beverage makers, cigarette brands and fast-food giants capitalizing on rising incomes and weak local competitors. A survey by China Market Research Group in 2011 showed 85 percent of Chinese consumers preferring foreign brands. 
Those days are over. That preference dropped by half last year, and it goes beyond China: brands of Indian toothpaste, Vietnamese laundry detergent and Japanese flavored water are picking up market share with lower prices and by catering to local tastes. Rising stars such as Indonesia’s Luwak instant coffee and China’s Pechoin moisturizers spell trouble for global titans at a time when Asia-Pacific’s economic growth is projected to outpace the world’s through 2019. 
“Multinationals underestimated local competition,” said Shaun Rein, managing director for China Market Research Group. “Local players have moved very fast on emerging trends that multinationals have missed, like healthy and e-commerce.”
More in Bloomberg.

Shaun Rein is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers' request form.

Are you looking for more strategic experts at the China Speakers Bureau? Do check out this list.  

The real force behind the sharing economy - Jeffrey Towson

Jeffrey Towson
The winner among the sharing companies is not the one who sells most rides, but the one who is best in collecting smart data, says Peking University professor Jeffrey Towson to the New York Times. “The fight is no longer over who has the biggest fleet,” Towson says, “but who has the smartest fleet.”

The New York Times:
Cities around the world have embraced the sharing economy — Seoul, Amsterdam, Milan — but China is the first country to frame it as a “national priority.” While innovation can’t be conjured on demand, Beijing has financed start-up incubators, offered tax incentives, formed think tanks and kept foreign competitors away. “This is state capitalism,” says Jeffrey Towson, a private-equity investor and a professor of investment at Peking University. “When the government gives the green light, everybody follows.” That includes investors. Mobike and Ofo, which are financed by China’s biggest tech giants, Tencent and Alibaba, respectively, have raised roughly a billion dollars each in venture capital. (Didi Chuxing, the ride-sharing company that bought out Uber’s China operation last year, is even bigger — with $5.5 billion in financing and 450 million users across China.)... 
Every time consumers scan the QR code on a bicycle — or basketball, handbag, umbrella — they provide information about habits, locations, behaviors and payment histories. That’s invaluable not just to Tencent and Alibaba but also to city planners seeking precise information about where to build roads, bridges and subways. “The fight is no longer over who has the biggest fleet,” Towson says, “but who has the smartest fleet.”
More in the New York Times.

Jeffrey Towson is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers' request form.

Are you looking for more experts on innovation? Do check out this list.  

Monday, November 20, 2017

The golden rules of marketing in China - Tom Doctoroff

Tom Doctoroff
Brand expert, Prophet senior partner and ex-JWT veteran Tom Doctoroff unveiled "three golden rules for marketing in China" at Mumbrella360 Asia.  Doctorff said brands need to understand the Confucian “tension” between climbing social hierarchy and protecting oneself from social or economic failure.

Tom Doctoroff is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers' request form.

Are you looking for more branding experts at the China Speakers Bureau? Do check out this list. 

Why online education booms in China - Andy Mok

Andy Mok
Online education is doing extremely well in China. E-commerce expert Andy Mok gives three main reasons why online education is a winner. "The Chinese people have valued education for thousands of years," he says at WomenofChina.

WomenofChina:
Analysts believe China could become one of the world's most vibrant online education markets, given its growing spending power and under-supply of educational resources, as well as the introduction of the two-child policy. 
"Well, there is clearly a tremendous demand for online education. I think there are three reasons for that. First one is cultural. The Chinese people have valued education for thousands of years. The second reason is technological. Especially now, more and more Chinese have access to the interview through their mobile phones, faster bandwidth and more powerful processors. And finally, it's political. In the recent concluded 19th Party Congress, Xi Jinping emphasized one of the challenges facing China today is unequal and unbalanced development, so online education is potentially a very powerful tool for addressing this unequal and unbalanced development," said Andy Mok, the managing director of Red Pagoda Resources.
More in WomenofChina.

Andy Mok is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers' request form. 

Are you looking for more e-commerce experts at the China Speakers Bureau? Do check out this list.  

Friday, November 17, 2017

The debate on One Belt, One Road - Zhang Ying

Zhang Ying
The new Marshall Plan or a sneaky way China wants to conquer the world? The opinions on China's massive One Belt, One Road program go into both directions. RSM professor Zhang Ying summarizes both views on China's investment program that is changing the world, for Friends of Europe.

Zhang Ying:
The Eurasian Silk Road was developed over a thousand years ago, and then revived by China’s President Xi Jinping in 2013 as a part of the country’s economic transition. The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), also called the New Silk Road and the One-Belt-One-Road, seems to have been widely accepted as an initiative to facilitate trade across the Eurasian continent, as well as geo-economic integration and global prosperity. 
However, it has been interpreted in various other ways. Two points of view stand out: There are those who view it as China’s latest strategy for boosting its slowing domestic economic growth. The others see it as a means to project China’s growing influence and an alternative to existing international geo-economic relationships. As such, the initiative has elicited respect, awe and enthusiasm among those who believe that it illustrates China’s visionary view of the future. But it has also raised questions over whether it is an altruistic contribution to the world, or just another plot by an egotistical “great power” to further its own self-interest. 
There are reasons for the concerns, just as there have been over the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) promoted by the other “great power”, the United States. Some thought of the TPP as a beacon for global free trade, giving the economies of the Pacific Rim their own, well-deserved trading club. Others saw it as just another instrument for the US to align its Pacific Rim allies in an exclusive economic club. With the Trump administration’s unexpected withdrawal of the US from TPP, attention has shifted to the other forward-looking initiative Asian initiative, namely the BRI. As a result, China has been catapulted into the position of “thought leader” for a new world order. 
Those who criticise the BRI are opposed to change or motivated by populism rather than a vision of collective prosperity. However, over three years’ of BRI-related framework projects across the Eurasian continent, reality is beginning to sink in. Many countries have started to support BRI, because they see its tangible advantages, both in the short term and in the long run. Others continue to beat the drum against change. Another group is torn between believing in the benefits of the new vision but still fearing ramifications that they cannot fully grasp.
More in Friends of Europe.

Zhang Ying is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need her at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers' request form.

Are you looking for more experts on One Road, One Belt at the China Speakers Bureau. Check out this list.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Brands should stress individuality - Ben Cavender

Ben Cavender
Gone are the days when China's consumers formed herds for their purchases. Whether is is for jewelry or trips abroad stressing individuality of consumers if key to be successful as a brand, says branding expert Ben Cavender to the China Daily.

The China Daily:
"People are now trying to express their individuality, so brands should think how to make a product fit their lifestyle with high product quality and attention to detail," said Ben Cavender, principal at China Market Research Group, a data information company. 
"This is creating opportunities for niche brands and accessory makers to stand out. Major brands are not going anywhere, but they do have to rationalize product designs and categories more to ensure they are getting the right products to consumers quickly," he added.
More in the China Daily.

Ben Cavender is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers' request form.

Are you looking for more branding experts at the China Speakers Bureau? Do check out this list.  

The War for China's Wallets - Shaun Rein

The long-awaited third book by Shaun Rein The War for China's Wallet: Profiting from the New World Order is now available on Amazon. After two earlier bestsellers, Shaun Rein now focuses on the fast-changing playing field for foreign companies to make their operation work in China.

From Amazon:
With Chinese-led initiatives such as One Belt One Road (OBOR) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) combined with uncertainty due to US shifts in policy and apparent commitments over the past decade, the stakes are high for companies looking to profit from the world's newest superpower. Post-financial crisis, China has emerged as the largest or second largest trading partner for most countries. It has become the second largest market for Fortune 500 companies like Starbucks, Apple, and Nike and drives growth for Hollywood and commodity products. Yet the profits come at a price for countries and companies alike, they must adhere to the political goals of Beijing or else face economic punishment or outright banishment. Using primary research from interviews with hundreds of business executives and government officials, The War for China's Wallet will help companies understand how to profit from China's outbound economic plans as well as a shifting consumer base that is increasingly nationalistic. The countries and companies that get it right will benefit from China's wallet but those that do not will lose out on the world's largest growth engine for the next two decades.
Shaun Rein is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers' request form.

Are you looking for more stories by Shaun Rein? Do check out this list.  

Lessons for crossing borders - William Bao Bean

William Bao Bean
Try to solve a problem, even when that means you have to throw your ideas in the bin, tells William Bao Bean an Australian audience. When people in India or China do not have the problem you try to solve, going there does not make sense. The managing director of Chinaccelerator helps preparing for the next four billion of customers.

William Bao Bean is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers' request form.

Are you looking for more experts on innovation at the China Speakers Bureau? Do check out this 
list.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The political dimension of China's religious awakening - Ian Johnson

Ian Johnson
Most reviewers of Ian Johnson's latest book The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao focus on religion, while his book also has a profound political dimension. "Interesting that only a religious journal gets the deeper meaning of my book--not only as a challenge to religion and values, but also to China's political order," writes Johnson on Facebook.about the review in Voegelinview.

Voegelinview:
“For I saw it was impossible to do anything without friends and loyal followers; and to find such men ready to hand would be a piece of sheer good luck, once our city was no longer guided by the customs and practices of our fathers, while to train up new ones was anything but easy.”[1] 
Ian Johnson argues, with considerable evidence, that the People’s Republic of China is undergoing a great awakening, comparable to that experienced by the United States in the nineteenth-century. This is in some sense inevitable in the generation after the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution, where religions, including Daoism, Buddhism, Islam, Christianity, and especially folk religions (most of which are Daoist), were brutally suppressed. Totalitarianism led, in China’s post-totalitarian (and still officially atheist) phase, a spiritual and moral crisis that manifests itself in low social trust. In this regard, Johnson cites Peking University ethicist He Huaihong’s observation: “We can feel the overlay of savagery in our ordinary lives” (88). Johnson argues the Chinese are turning to faith as a way of filling the spiritual and moral void they experience in their culture. He combines first-rate journalism and interviewing with the most recent social science studies to show that, in discussing “China’s rise,” one must also account for its spiritual awakening that comprises, in a rough estimate, approximately 300 million believers (31). 
Johnson focuses on the lively activities of a handful of religious groups, including the Protestant Early Rain Reformed Church in Chengdu that is led by a former democracy advocate, Wang Yi; a group led by Li Bin in Shanxi province that is world-renowned for its musical performances of Daoist rituals; Beijing’s Ni family that is the custodian of the temple dedicated to Our Lady of the Azure Clouds, an important Daoist goddess, along with several other representative samples of religious believers. 
Johnson uses the term, “religion” for his Western readers but at the outset he explains this term is misleading. Researchers know not to ask the Chinese if they are religious because the answer will be overwhelmingly negative (28-29). But their response is not a sign of atheism. It is a problem of methodology and terminology because “religion” is too Western and implies something separate and alien to daily life, as well as dogma. Before the twentieth-century, the Chinese lacked a term for religion. The contemporary term, zongjiao, is a Japanese import (20-21).  Instead of religion, Johnson notes that China is seeing an awakening of ritual and of faith (xinyang). He understands ritual the same way Plato has the Athenian Stranger discuss nomoi, the customs and mores of a society. Indeed, the book is structured around the annual cycle of traditional festivals that are returning.
Much more in Voegelinview.

Ian Johnson is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers' request form.

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Manipulating figures, part of the Single's Day game - Shaun Rein

Shaun Rein
The top-2 e-commerce players Alibaba and JD.com accused each other of manipulating the turnover they recorded at China's Single's Day. Business analyst Shaun Rein would not believe either of them, he tells the Sixth Tone.

Sixth Tone:
Behind the quarrel is an all-out war to conquer the world’s largest and fastest-growing e-commerce market, industry analysts say. According to iResearch, a Chinese internet consulting firm, Tmall accounted for 56.6 percent of all business-to-consumer e-commerce sales in 2016, while JD.com came in second with 24.7 percent of all sales. 
“Both companies are manipulating the numbers to make themselves look good — for reporters and brands, and to get consumers excited,” said Shaun Rein, author of the upcoming book “The War for China’s Wallet” and founder of China Market Research Group, a strategic market intelligence firm in Shanghai. Winning the annual shopping festival “is really like a trophy,” he told Sixth Tone.
More at the Sixth Tone.

Shaun Rein is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers' request form.

Are you looking for more experts on e-commerce at the China Speakers Bureau? Do check this list.