Domestic consumption

A family wearing face masks walks outside a shopping mall in Beijing on 11 October 2020. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP)

Chinese housewives: The driving force behind China's e-commerce platforms

China has its army of housewives to thank for its early and deep foothold in e-commerce. The theory goes that with more time on their hands and being fiercely price-conscious, these housewives will never fail to take advantage of discounts for online shopping, and even more importantly, spread the word and get others to do the same.
Employees attend a pep rally in the yard of a Cainiao warehouse, the logistics subsidiary of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., ahead of the company's annual Singles' Day shopping extravaganza in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, China, on 9 November 2020. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

You have to be as smart as the Chinese to survive Singles' Day shopping in China

Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu observes that this year’s head-spinning Singles’ Day sales deals are a tough nut to crack. It is almost as if the organisers want to prevent rather than promote these discounts. Then again, in Chinese life, everything seems to be just that little bit more difficult, whether it’s making a living, raising a child or even keeping a happy marriage going. What’s the moral of the story? Competition in China breeds the street-smart. But what happens to those who are just a tad slower on the uptake?
The male contestants in the third season of Youth With You (青春有你). (Internet)

Working 'mothers' are the biggest spenders of fan economy in China

The fan economy is a huge business in China, driven mostly by young women in their 20s. But while these fans are willing to spend money on their idols, some chalk up mountains of debt to feed their passion. Given that the idols are endlessly trotted out on a conveyor belt and few escape the cookie cutter, how long can the fan economy last?
People are reflected in a puddle after a rainfall as they walk along a shopping district in Beijing on 18 August 2020. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Will China's inward economic shift lead to a closed society?

Chinese President Xi Jinping has recently emphasised the concept of “domestic circulation”, or focusing on domestic markets. But while this might prompt concern that China’s economy may be shut off from the rest of the world, given current circumstances, this is unlikely. What China needs to guard against though, says Zaobao associate editor Han Yong Hong, is the groupthink generated by a closed loop of ideas.
This file photo taken on 5 March 2020 shows farmers harvesting cabbages at Huarong county in Hunan province, on the border of Hubei. A national campaign to curb mounting food waste in China is feeding speculation that the supply outlook is worse than the government admits and fuelling warnings food could become another front in the worsening US-China rivalry. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Food scraps and empty new apartments: China’s fight against wastage

China has a problem of wastage, and two areas where this is clearly seen are food and property development. Hong Kong commentator David Ng reviews the impact on China’s economy.
Participants of reality TV series Sisters Who Make Waves (《乘风破浪的小姐姐》). (Internet)

Rich and wealthy ‘little sisters’ are the new driving force of Chinese consumerism

“Little sisters” — young women urbanites between 20-40 who have high spending power and little financial commitments — are the new darling demographic for those targeting China’s domestic market. In fact, the 2020 market size of the “little sisters economy” in China is expected to reach five trillion RMB. In keeping their buy-in, integrating e-commerce with social apps is key.
An employee works on a production line manufacturing steel structures at a factory in Huzhou, Zhejiang province, China, on 17 May 2020. (China Daily via Reuters)

Can the domestic market save jobs, livelihoods and companies in China?

With Covid-19 uncertainty and downturns pummelling its export-dependent economy, China’s leaders are trying to steer companies towards the domestic market instead. This may seem like a case of putting old wine in a new bottle, as China has tried this route before. Significant challenges are proving yet again that achieving export sales domestically is no mean feat. Can export-driven companies brave the storm while they reinvent themselves and recover?
In this photo taken on 30 March, consumers line up and wait to enter a mall in Wuhan after it resumed operations. (CNS)

Wuhan businesses' quest for survival after 76-day lockdown

To help businesses get back on their feet, the Wuhan municipal government recently announced that it is raising 20 billion RMB to roll out a rescue package for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). On the ground, many companies find themselves in more dire straits now than when the city was under a complete lockdown, and business owners are generally not confident of surviving the present downturn.
Medical staff at a hospital in Wuhan, 5 February 2020. (Xiong Qi/Xinhua)

[Big Read] Wuhan waits for a turning point

The new coronavirus has not yet peaked but is already having serious impacts on the people and businesses of Wuhan and China. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu looks at the micro and macro effects of the epidemic, from personal accounts to medical and economic forecasts, in this big read on Wuhan.