Domestic consumption

Shoppers walking past a store of Italian luxury brand Prada at a shopping complex in Beijing, China, 19 September 2020. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

How to build a ‘super-sized domestic market’ in China

Even as China talks of a “dual circulation” system and building a “super-sized domestic market”, it seems that its population of 1.4 billion has yet to translate into a strong consumer market. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu looks into what it will take for the Chinese government’s plan to work.
This photo taken early on October 23, 2020 shows Silvia Rivera (in background) attending a live-streaming event from a studio in Shanghai to offer products on an Aliexpress channel in Spain. By some estimates, livestream shopping is a near US$70 billion industry inside China. (Hector Retamal/AFP)

How China is leading in the live-streaming e-commerce world

Live-streaming e-commerce is fast gaining currency in China, not least when tapping on short video and “we-media” platforms. Supporting the “internet celebrities” who promote endless products through this avenue are a support network backed by AI and big data. Technology specialist Yin Ruizhi looks at how this new model is changing the face of retail.
Visitors walk on the Bund in Shanghai, China, on 21 December 2020. China’s central bank is striking out on its own with signals of tighter monetary policy, widening a divergence with other large economies that will shape global capital and trade flows next year. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

How China’s dual circulation strategy will affect the world economy

In May this year, China’s leaders proposed a new dual circulation strategy featuring both domestic and international circulation, with emphasis on the former. Associate Professor Gu Qingyang of the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (LKYSPP) notes how this new strategy will complement the current global economic system, and how it will affect the rest of the world.
The Alibaba Group signage is seen during the company's 11.11 Singles' Day global shopping festival at their headquarters in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China, 11 November 2020. (Aly Song/Reuters)

From heroes to pests: What’s happening to China’s internet giants?

With China’s internet giants now moving into the community group-buying market offering groceries at low prices, not everyone’s happy, as livelihoods will be affected and people have learnt a lesson from the huge price they have paid in the growth of these internet giants. Zaobao correspondent Yang Danxu examines the dark side of the “online vegetable basket” industry.
Pedestrians walk past a Chinese flag in the Lujiazui financial district in Shanghai, China, on 1 December 2020. (Qilai Shen/Bloomberg)

China to clamp down on monopolies and spur domestic demand

The meeting of the Politburo of the Chinese Communist Party last week in preparation for the annual Central Economic Work Conference gave a clear indication of China’s economic direction: it is going full steam ahead on shaping a dual circulation economy driven predominantly by domestic demand. In seeking to implement demand-side reforms, deep-seated social issues and monopolistic tendencies will be addressed.
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.