Publicity posters of Luckin and Cotti, both offering 9.90 RMB coffees. (Weibo)

Luckin challenger pushes China’s coffee price war towards boiling point

Cotti appears to be struggling to sustain its rapid expansion, having already faced operational issues with franchisees and suffering a spate of store closures, as Luckin fights back. Meanwhile, as the two Chinese coffee chains duke it out at the cheap end of the market, China’s largest international player, Starbucks Corp., is distancing itself from the competition and focusing instead on growing its foothold in the country’s smaller cities.
TikTok offices in Culver City, California, US, on 20 March 2024. (Bing Guan/Bloomberg)

The countdown begins: TikTok navigates uncertain future amid US ban bill

A legislation passed on 13 March by the US House of Representatives which is currently pending in the Senate would force TikTok's parent company to sell it within 180 days or face a nationwide ban. Is there still room for manoeuvre and can TikTok turn the situation around?
A sculpture (left) by artist Chen Wenling, and an Ant Group Co. mascot at the company's headquarters in Hangzhou, China, on 2 August 2021. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

China targets payments problem to win over foreigners

Despite China waiving visa requirements for citizens from over a dozen more countries and making local digital payment services more international-user friendly, flights and the flow of visitors from countries such as the US are still nowhere near 2019 levels.
Residential buildings under construction by Chinese real estate developer Vanke in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, on 15 March 2024. (AFP)

Chinese property giant Vanke seeks more time to repay debts as market slump lingers

Chinese property giant Vanke has avoided defaulting on its publicly traded bonds so far even during the prolonged market crisis. But its balance sheet has been weakened by falling sales of new homes and fragile market sentiment, and it has resorted to offloading assets to repay its debts on time.
People walk at a shopping mall in Beijing, China, on 16 January 2024. (Pedro Pardo/AFP)

Xiaohongshu’s push to make users spend on its platform

Launched in 2013 as a place for users to share things like travel and beauty tips, and acting as a conduit for lifestyle reviews, Xiaohongshu is again reshuffling its e-commerce ventures, hoping to transform into an e-commerce platform.
China’s drugmakers are beginning to feel a thawing breeze, although not without underlying concerns. (SPH Media)

Chinese pharma turns to global deals to cure capital crunch

The uptick in recent deals and global pharmaceutical giants’ growing interests in novel drug development in China has invigorated the industry, yet not without underlying concerns.
Christian Louboutin's iconic red-soled heels. (Photo: Mark Davies)

Louboutin’s famous red-soled heels tread winding path to trademark protection in China

In 2012, Christian Louboutin shoes made their debut in the Chinese market, two years after an application to have their distinctive appearance protected under the Trademark Law sparked a legal tussle that would unfold over the ensuing decade and continues today.
Visitors throng a pedestrian shopping street in Shanghai, China, on 10 February 2024. (Nicoco Chan/Reuters)

China set for interest rate cuts to support economy

The People’s Bank of China (PBOC) left a key interest rate unchanged on 15 January, leading the country’s major lenders to keep their benchmark interest rates on hold a week later. The PBOC has been constrained in its ability to cut interest rates over concerns that such a move would drive more capital out of China in search of higher returns. Even so, analysts say the next window of opportunity for a rate cut is likely to be in March or in the next quarter.
An electronic ticker displays stock figures in Pudong's Lujiazui Financial District in Shanghai, China, on 29 January 2024. (Raul Ariano/Bloomberg)

Private equity in China heads for exits amid three-year stock slump

China ended 2023 with the world’s worst-performing equity market as the blue-chip CSI 300 Index fell for the third straight year, plunging 35% over 36 months, making it difficult for private equity and venture capital firms to exit their investments. How will these firms deal with the country's stock slump?