A few intriguing trends in China that we anticipate to rise steadily in the coming year…

CONSUMER PROFILES SHIFT

Men as a growing source of luxury consumption– Men account for about 55 percent of China’s luxury goods market, well above the global average of 40 percent, according to research from brokerage CLSA, partly because businessmen often buy expensive gifts to curry favour with government officials or potential associates.

Article: China’s metrosexual men revive luxury shopping, Reuters

People walk outside a Burberry store in Hong Kong

CHINESE BRANDS ENGAGE

Chinese brands looking for ways to engage with western consumers from afar– Cash-flush Chinese marketers are looking overseas for growth and branding opportunities. For example, look for cameos by multiple Chinese brands in installments of the “Ironman” and “Transformers” films — which have previously featured casualwear retailer Meters/Bonwe, computer-maker Lenovo and consumer-electronics manufacturer TCL.

Article: Mobile Apps, Ambitious Marketers and More: The Trends We’re Watching in China, Ad Age.

Other evidence of this trend: Wahaha is the new official drinks sponsor of Manchester United. The Chinese company signed a sponsorship deal to draw sports fans to it’s energy drink in China and also to introduce the brand to a global stage through a known and respected ally. China Construction Bank has also signed a deal with the team.

Article: China’s Richest Man Signs Manchester United Sponsor Deal, Bloomberg.

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DEMAND FOR SOCIAL GOOD

The Rise of Philanthropy in China… But not the same route as in the West— These days, when tragedy strikes — children orphaned, adults beaten close to death, students starving in schools — Chinese citizens increasingly depend not on government or officially sanctioned nonprofit organizations, but on Twitter-like micro­blogs called Weibo, for donations. 

Article: Chinese turn to microblogs for donations instead of government charities, Washington Post.

Through unofficial channels, individuals are making a difference by donating to a cause of their own choosing– which are often not in any way officially regulated. It will be interesting to see how the charity sector in China develops given the unreliable history of large scale charities (Think the Red Cross Fraud issues). Still, China is one of the least likely countries for individual giving (Infographic here, from Shanghaiist), so brands may want to share the wealth and be seen as both responsible brands and trend setters for others.

Consumers demand protection for the environment The capital and 32 other cities suffered “hazardous” air this weekend, local media reported, swelling hospitals with patients reporting respiratory and heart problems. Face masks sold quickly at pharmacies, and some airports and highways suffered delays and closures amid greatly reduced visibility.

Article: Smog continues to choke China, USA Today

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