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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.