China Matters: A Global Superpower in Focus


China Matters: A Global Superpower in Focus


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China: The model for post-pandemic recovery?

The country’s stringent zero-case-first strategy has helped inspire confidence in residents – in turn spurring the resurgence of hotel occupancy rates and flight and railway tickets locally. Already, clamor for domestic travel is steadily approaching pre-pandemic levels. As demand grows, so too have opportunities to refine pricing mechanisms. Outbound tourism might remain off the table, but for now, Chinese consumers are content to live in their own travel bubble.

On the mainland, building liveable cities has become the priority

It seems the future of architecture is in China, particularly in the fast-growing second-tier cities. The World Economic Forum projects the mainland will be home to nearly half of new construction worldwide in the next decade. In addition to its zero-carbon pledge, China recently announced its ambitious Five-Year Plan, which underlines, among other key areas of change, a requirement for 50 percent of all new urban buildings to be certified sustainable.

On top of offering aesthetic value, exciting forthcoming projects from leading architecture firms such as Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)‘s AI City in Chonqing, OMA‘s car-free Chengdu Future City, and more seek to challenge traditional urban planning models.

The plant-based mandate: Is China on the cusp of a protein revolution?

In the 1960s, the average Chinese person consumed less than 5 kg of meat every year. Today, China consumes a whopping 28% of the world’s meat – including half of all pork. But with the Chinese government’s support of cutting down meat consumption, plant-based protein is growing more prolific on the mainland, with OmniPork a staple in thousands of Taco Bell and Starbucks branches and other competitors such as Z-Rou, Zhenmeat, and Beyond Meat also creating formidable footprints.

Battle of the apps: Can anyone truly rival WeChat?

In China’s highly competitive digital landscape, no app has been more successful than WeChat. Over a billion users rely on the Tencent-owned super app for everything from messaging and networking to news and even mobile payment, making it perhaps the single most important platform for those looking to penetrate the Chinese market.

Also making waves is Bilibili, which has a dual role of both reflecting and shaping millennial culture in China.

Innovation is at the heart of reinvention, and nowhere does this ring more true than in China, where tech continues to be on the rise. Exhibit A: Alibaba-backed startup AutoX recently rolled out fully driverless robotaxis in Shenzhen, the latest to set the bar for contactless experiences.

Is there a right way to use nostalgia as a marketing tool?

From Gucci to Loewe, Western heritage brands are tapping into the familiar by bringing back feel-good animated characters from millennials’ childhoods. Harnessing the power of emotional connections, Balenciaga and Kith launched Hello Kitty accessories and Sailor Moon-themed pieces at their respective Spring/Summer 2020 shows; in January, Studio Ghibli’s My Neighbour Totoro featured prominently in Loewe’s ready-to-wear line.

Recognizing the right nostalgic touchpoints can deliver a viral hit instead of a miss, as Burberry painfully learned. Global headquarters need to work closely with their local teams to identify resonant cultural references in an extremely complex market. Judging by Bain & Company’s forecast of China’s luxury market, it’s well worth the effort.

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