Luxurious lifestyle

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.
Internet celebrities flocked to Wuzhong Market over the Golden Week holiday to pose for pictures with vegetables wrapped in Prada packaging. (Xiaohongshu/@超赞小姐姐 (left); Xiaohongshu/@周小晨Kiki)

Chic and trendy wet markets are the in-thing in China

Below-the-line marketing tactics of high-end brand Prada sees a wet market in Shanghai wrapping its walls, stalls and vegetables — yes, even the edibles — in Prada packaging. Lucky shoppers also get to receive limited edition Prada paper bags. And it's not just in Shanghai; trendy markets that have cafes, reading areas, exhibition spaces and bars are popping up in first-tier cities all around China.
A couple use their mobile phones while sharing a bench at a park in Beijing on 21 April 2021. (Wang Zhao/AFP)

A burning issue among Chinese youths: How to escape the rat race?

The terms “involution” (内卷) and “lying flat” (躺平) are trending these days among young people in China who are speaking out against the intense competition and pressures they face. But how many are actually doing something about it? Zaobao correspondent Yu Zeyuan digs deeper into the social phenomenon.
A vendor arranges books at her stall at the Panjiayuan antique market in Beijing, China, on 19 November 2020. (Noel Celis/AFP)

Are the Chinese truly collecting art?

With China’s increasing affluence, the nouveau riche are investing in art and cultural artefacts. Wu Zetian’s pleated skirt, exquisite paper from the Southern Tang dynasty, a painting by early 20th century painter Qi Baishi — authentic or not, all are fair game and acquired at the best price. What a shame, says cultural historian Cheng Pei-kai. If only the collector’s hand is not sullied by such commerce.