Luxury

The logo of e-commerce app Pinduoduo is displayed next to mobile phones displaying the app, in this illustration picture taken on 25 October 2023. (Florence Lo/Reuters)

Pinduoduo's popularity a sign of Chinese consumption downgrading wave

Popular Chinese online shopping app Pinduoduo has done well in terms of profits, outdoing competitors such as Alibaba and JD.com. While a major factor is due to revenue from Pinduoduo's multinational e-commerce platform Temu, it may also be a sign that consumers in China are changing their spending habits and going for cost-effectiveness and value for money.
A Be@rbrick exhibition in Fuzhou, Fujian province, China, 14 March 2023. (CNS)

‘A wall full of Be@rbricks is worth as much as an apartment in China’

A Be@rbrick figure, named after auteur Stanley Kubric and first created by Japanese toy maker Tatsuhiko Akashi, can be worth thousands of dollars and finds fans from Japan to China to Singapore. Even celebrities like Jay Chou, JJ Lin, Lee Chong Wei, Z Tao, and G-Dragon are avid collectors. Chances are that you have seen these bears sporting their portly bellies without paying them much attention. In fact, these adorable and fashionable bears have become collectibles and an alternative investment. So, what makes Be@rbrick figures so highly sought after?
​A couple taking photos with an installation of flowers at a shopping mall during Valentine's Day in Yantai in China's eastern Shandong province on 14 February 2022. (AFP)

Good signs for China’s economic recovery as spending booms for Valentine’s Day

With Valentine’s Day just over, The Economist’s tongue-in-cheek Cost of Loving Index reflects the high cost of living in Chinese cities compared with global cities such as New York and Paris. Zaobao’s associate editor Han Yong Hong looks deeper into the spending habits of the Chinese and what it might mean for economic recovery.
People use umbrellas as they walk along Qianmen street in Beijing, China, on 18 August 2022. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Why Chinese youths are not spending

Zaobao correspondent Wong Siew Fong notes that consumer spending attitudes have changed since the pandemic, especially among Chinese youths — the biggest spending market. This spells a more difficult road to recovery for China’s ailing economy.
The Shandong and Jinan authorities have set up investigative teams to look into thousands of illegally constructed villas in the area. (Internet)

When China’s local governments ignore Xi Jinping’s instructions to demolish illegally built villas

Recent media reports have highlighted the issue of villas continuing to be illegally built in the mountains of southern Jinan even as those found are demolished. Shandong and Jinan authorities have swiftly launched investigations, including taking action against party cadres who might be involved, but will their persistence last? Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan reports.
People walk past a Canada Goose store in Beijing, China, 2 December 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

Canada Goose: Why Western brands are not open to returns in China

Commentator Chip Tsao notes that even as Chinese consumers are unhappy about perceived differential treatment by Western high-end brands in terms of returns and refunds, this is due in some part to their penchant for buying items and then easily changing their minds, or returning them after only using them once, perhaps just for selfies for social media. Not to mention the possibility of consumers’ irrational nationalism kicking in and the high costs of processing returns, it’s no wonder that brands are thinking twice before offering returns.
People leave a Canada Goose store in Beijing, China, 2 December 2021. (Tingshu Wang/Reuters)

Unfair treatment of Chinese consumers? Canadian luxury winter apparel brand draws flak in China

Canada Goose, a Canadian luxury winter apparel brand that has been in the Chinese market for three years, drew bad press recently for having no or an ambiguous returns policy. Sensitive netizens wondered whether this meant the brand was discriminating against Chinese customers as they do have a returns policy in other locations. Despite the hoo-ha, sales of Canada Goose apparel as the weather turns wintry has still been brisk. A case of pragmatism overriding nationalistic grouses?
This file photo taken on 3 May 2021 shows a fan holding images of actors as fans wait outside the Suzhou Olympic Sports Centre Stadium before a concert with the theme of the Chinese television drama 'Word of Honor', in Suzhou in China's eastern Jiangsu province. From reality TV to online gaming and even pop stans, China's leadership has launched a crackdown on youth culture in what experts say is a bid to ramp up "ideological control". (STR/AFP)

Chinese youths are falling for the 'Squid Game trap' with Chinese characteristics

The constant pursuit of the high life in China, especially among young Chinese urbanites, often means that they are spending beyond their means. It does not help that financial companies and banks are encouraging people to take loans, while fans of celebrities and influencers are also nudged into chasing glamour. Given the circumstances, commentator Chip Tsao wonders if the Chinese authorities’ efforts towards an even distribution of wealth will work.
Two women participate in a livestreaming e-commerce contest in Anhui, China, 19 October 2021. (CNS)

Why half of Chinese youths want to be an influencer

Recently, an influencer from Zhengzhou in China reportedly repaid about six million RMB in back taxes, prompting people to question how much influencers or internet celebrities actually make. Do all influencers earn top dollar? Media commentator Yuan Guobao looks into the highs and lows of this volatile industry.