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China

5 things we can learn from China’s e-commerce explosion

Online marketplace Alibaba saw sales growth of 39% in comparison with the event in 2016, suggesting that Chinese consumers are confident in their spending

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China’s e-commerce market continues to see high double-digit growth year on year. The Double 11 event on 11 November 2017 – also known as Singles’ Day, when single people in China celebrate, and which has become a popular shopping holiday – was a clear example of how China’s consumption-led economy is evolving digitally.

Online marketplace Alibaba saw sales growth of 39% in comparison with the event in 2016, suggesting that Chinese consumers are confident in their spending and that consumption will continue to rise.

China: a booming market

China’s economy continues to grow steadily as it ended 2017 with GDP at 6.8%, according to China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). In line with this positive momentum, at Nielsen we saw China’s consumer confidence index (CCI) reach a historic high of 114 points in both the third and fourth quarters of 2017, up two points from the second quarter of 2017 and six points from 108 in the fourth quarter of 2016.

CCI scores above and below 100 points represent, respectively, positive and negative consumer confidence. An all-time high CCI, coupled with healthy disposable income growth of 7.5%, as reported by the NBS, means that consumers are confident and consumer demand or consumption is expected to remain steady.

We see consumption increasing as consumers in China spend more than ever: 43% more compared with five years ago. That’s leagues ahead of the 24% growth in the US and 33% globally.

Nielsen’s e-commerce tracking data, within 34 fast-moving consumer goods categories, shows that in a 12-month rolling average leading up to November 2017, online sales grew 27% versus the year before, whereas offline sales increased only 6% over the same period.

Meanwhile, the ratio of enterprises with e-commerce services increased significantly in the last year. According to Nielsen’s CCI report, up to Dec 2016, the ratio of enterprises launching online sales reached higher than 45%.

There’s no doubt that China’s e-commerce market is on an overall upward trajectory. In line with this, Nielsen has identified five key trends that we believe are driving the development of the market, and which will be essential for businesses to leverage to ensure success in 2018.

Five key trends driving China’s e-commerce market

1) E-commerce shopping festivals

E-tailers are creating more shopping festivals and themes to unlock consumer desire. Based on Nielsen’s survey, before Double 11 this year, 79% of consumers said they planned to participate in Double 11. Alibaba saw 168 billion RMB in sales and 39% growth on Singles’ Day, while another main competitor, JD.com, achieved RMB 127 billion during 1-11 November, with over 50% growth.

Double 11 and similar shopping festivals are an opportunity for local brands, but these are also key opportunities for foreign brands to leverage the collective enthusiasm for shopping among Chinese consumers. On these holidays, consumers are looking to experiment, try new things and buy products that may be new to them. These festivals are a perfect opportunity for new brands entering the market to get noticed.

2) Consumption upgrade

Two triggers are sparking a trend known as “consumption upgrade”. Rising disposable income means that consumers are more confident in spending their money on a number of categories – especially food, cosmetics and clothing. An emphasis on quality and fashion are growing much faster than other consumer demands. Following this, middle- to upper-class consumers are now increasing their demand for goods that are not available domestically. Online platforms, where international high-end and niche brands are easily accessed, are rising in popularity, while cross-border shopping sites are leading the consumption upgrade movement.

According to Nielsen’s online shopper trend report, the proportion of consumers who had recently made a cross-border…

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Revealing the Encouraged Industries of Hainan in 2024: Unlocking Opportunities

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The 2024 Hainan Encouraged Catalogue, issued by the NDRC, MOF, and STA, aims to boost industries in the Hainan Free Trade Port. It prioritizes sectors like tourism, modern services, and high technologies, offering incentives for foreign investment and market access expansion since 2020. The Catalogue includes 176 entries across 14 categories, with 33 new additions focusing on cultural tourism, new energy, medicine and health, aviation, aerospace, and environmental protection.


The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance (MOF) and the State Taxation Administration (STA), has issued the Catalogue of Industries Encouraged to Develop in Hainan Free Trade Port (2024 Version), hereinafter referred to as the “2024 Hainan Encouraged Catalogue.” The updated Catalogue took effect on March 1, 2024, replacing the previous 2020 Edition.

Beyond the industries already addressed in existing national catalogues, the new entries in the 2024 Hainan Encouraged Catalogue are based on practical implementation experiences and the specific needs within Hainan, prioritizing sectors such as tourism, modern services, and high technologies.

The Hainan FTP has been providing incentives to draw investors to invest and establish businesses in the region, especially foreign investment. Alongside a phased approach to opening the capital account and facilitating free capital movement, Hainan has significantly expanded market access for foreign enterprises since 2020, particularly in sectors such as telecommunications, tourism, and education.

The Hainan Encouraged Catalogue comprises two main sections:

Similar to the approach adopted by the western regions, foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) should always implement their production or operations in accordance with the Catalogue of Encouraged Industries for Foreign Investment.

On top of the industries already addressed in existing national catalogues, the 2024 Hainan Encouraged Catalogue encompasses 14 distinct categories and a total of 176 entries especially encouraged in the region, including 33 new additions compared to the 2020 Edition. These new entries predominantly span cultural tourism, new energy, medicine and health, aviation and aerospace, and ecological and environmental protection, among others.

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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Key Guidelines for Companies in Compliance Audits for Personal Information Protection Standards

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China’s standards authority has released draft standards for personal information protection compliance audits, potentially making them mandatory for companies in 2023. The audits will require companies to undergo annual or biennial checks based on the number of people’s information they handle. The draft standards outline the audit process and requirements, seeking public feedback until September 11, 2024.


China’s standards authority has released draft standards for conducting personal information protection compliance audits. Regular compliance audits to ensure compliance with personal information protection regulations may become a requirement for companies in China under draft measures released in 2023. We explain the audit processes and requirements proposed in the draft standards.

The Standardization Administration of China (SAC) has released a set of draft standards for conducting personal information (PI) protection compliance audits. Under draft measures released by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) in August 2023, companies that process the PI of people in China are required to undergo regular compliance audits.

Specifically, companies that process the PI of over one million people must undergo a compliance audit at least once a year, while companies that process the PI of under one million people must carry out an audit at least once every two years. 

While the draft measures stipulate the obligations of the auditing body and the audit scope, the draft standards outline the specific audit process, including evidence management and permissions of the audit organization, as well as the professional and ethical requirements of auditors. 

The Secretariat of the National Cybersecurity Standardization Technical Committee is soliciting public feedback on the draft standards until September 11, 2024. Public comment on the draft measures released in August last year closed on September 2, 2023, but no updated document has yet been released. 

The draft standards outline five stages of the PI protection compliance audit: audit preparation, implementation, reporting, problem rectification, and archiving management. 

Auditors are required to accurately document identified security issues in the audit working papers, ensuring that the records are comprehensive, clear, and conclusive, reflecting the audit plan and its execution, as well as all relevant findings and recommendations. 

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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A Comprehensive Guide to China’s Expanded 144-Hour Visa-Free Transit Policy at 37 Ports

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China has expanded its 144-hour visa-free transit policy, allowing travelers from 54 countries to visit certain areas without a visa. Zhengzhou in Henan Province and eight cities in Yunnan Province are now included. The policy aims to promote people-to-people exchange and requires travelers to meet specific requirements.


China has expanded the 144-hour visa-free transit policy, which allows people from certain countries to enjoy six days of travel to select areas of the country without applying for a visa beforehand, to cover 54 countries and 37 ports. Zhengzhou in Henan Province and eight more cities in Yunnan Province can benefit from this policy as of July 15, 2024. Amid China’s continuous efforts to promote people-to-people exchange, we explain who is eligible for the 144-hour visa-free transit and where in China you can travel on this special entry permit.

The National Immigration Administration (NIA) has expanded China’s 144-hour visa-free transit policy to 37 ports as of July 15, 2024. Zhengzhou aviation port in Henan now offers this policy, with the stay limited to the administrative region of Henan Province. The stay range of Yunnan Province’s policy has been expanded from Kunming to eight other cities (prefecture-level) including Lijiang, Yuxi, Pu’er, Chuxiong, Dali, Xishuangbanna, Honghe, and Wenshan. Additionally, Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport, Lijiang Sanyi International Airport, and Mohan Railway Port have been added as ports applicable to the 144-hour visa-free transit policy.

In this article, we explain how this 144-hour visa-free transit policy works and summarize some frequently asked questions.  

Under the 144-hour visa-free transit policy, foreign travelers can enjoy a six-day stay in certain Chinese cities without a visa, provided they come from 54 eligible countries, enter and exit China from eligible ports, stay within the allowed cities and regions, as well as satisfy other requirements.  

To obtain this visa exemption, the foreign national must have a valid passport from one of the 54 countries, which are: 

As per the requirements of China’s National Immigration Authority (NIA), people applying for 144-hour visa-free transit must have: 

You may also be required to answer some questions at immigration control upon arrival.  

This article is republished from China Briefing. Read the rest of the original article.

China Briefing is written and produced by Dezan Shira & Associates. The practice assists foreign investors into China and has done since 1992 through offices in Beijing, Tianjin, Dalian, Qingdao, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Ningbo, Suzhou, Guangzhou, Dongguan, Zhongshan, Shenzhen, and Hong Kong. Please contact the firm for assistance in China at china@dezshira.com.

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