China News Brief
    February 08, 2024

    Consumer prices dip in China while retail sales rebound in Hong Kong.
    Declining prices in China may be good news for shoppers, but it's unwelcome news for retailers. Photo: Shutterstock

    Consumer prices decline in China#

    China saw its largest drop  in consumer prices in over 14 years in January, along with a decline in producer prices, increasing pressure on policymakers to stimulate the struggling economy. The Consumer Price Index fell by 0.8 percent year on year, driven by a significant decrease in food prices, while economists had expected a 0.5 percent decline. Despite meeting the official growth target of around 5 percent in 2023, China's recovery remains shaky, prompting expectations for a similar growth target this year. The central bank’s recent announcement of a significant cut to bank reserves aimed to support the economy, but analysts stress the need for additional measures to boost confidence and demand. Factory gate prices also continued to decline, posing challenges for manufacturers, especially smaller exporters.

    Prada unveils football portrait series#

    Prada on Tuesday presented  a portrait series featuring the Chinese National Women's Football Team donning new uniforms that redefine the image of the “Steel Roses” of Chinese women’s football. The outfits include black wool tailored suits with the purple phoenix emblem of the national team embroidered on the jackets, paired with blue and white striped silk shirts, with contrasting vibrant red collars.

    Silhouette names brand envoy#

    Silhouette, a high-end eyewear brand from Austria, announced  Wei Daxun as its global brand ambassador on Sunday. Established in 1964, Silhouette produced the lightweight Titan Minimal Art series. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the series, and Silhouette is collaborating with Wei to introduce a new collection of Titan Minimal Art, featuring high-tech titanium frames paired with lightweight lenses.

    Hong Kong retail sales rebounded in 2023#

    In 2023, Hong Kong's retail sales grew  by 16.2 percent, reaching $52.15 billion (HK$406.7 billion), rebounding from a slight contraction in the previous year, despite a softer growth in December. December's retail sales rose by 7.8 percent YoY, totaling $4.65 billion (HK$36.3 billion HKD), compared to November's 15.9 percent jump. Sales of jewelry, watches, clocks, and valuable gifts surged by 50.1 percent in December, while sales of clothing, footwear, and accessories increased by 18.3 percent.

    Curiel opens boutique in Shanghai#

    Curiel opened  a new boutique at Shanghai's IAPM Plaza on February 2. Designed by the Italian firm Vudafieri Saverino Partners, the store embodies the brand's haute couture spirit while paying tribute to its century-long friendship with Milan's La Scala Opera House. The boutique showcases the brand’s new 2024 Spring/Summer collection.

    Tmall tops cross-border import ranking#

    Consumer research firm Yiguan Analysis on Monday released  a report on 2023 cross-border import e-commerce trends. Tmall International led with 37.6 percent market share. The overall market size grew by 4.6 percent to $86.92 billion (551.77 billion RMB). Other top platforms include JD International (18.7 percent) and Douyin Global Shopping (12.3 percent). Tmall International saw significant growth in health, home, and sports categories, with over 46,000 brands from 90-plus countries serving over 100 million consumers since its launch in 2014.

    Alibaba’s revenue misses#

    Alibaba's shares dipped  yesterday after the company missed revenue expectations in the December quarter, despite announcing a $25 billion expansion of its share buyback program. Initially up over 5 percent in premarket trade, shares closed down over 5 percent. The increased buyback, extending to March 2027, reflects confidence in the company's future. This follows a tumultuous 2023, marked by significant corporate restructuring and management changes. Alibaba's fiscal third-quarter results showed sluggish growth in its core e-commerce and cloud businesses amid a challenging macroeconomic climate in China. However, its international commerce segment saw promising growth.

    China propels Skechers’ revenue#

    Skechers released  its 2023 annual financial report, with a YoY sales increase of 7.5 percent to $8 billion, reaching a historic high, and direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales grew by 24.3 percent. It's understood that China is Skechers’ largest overseas market outside the United States, with sales increasing by 15.6 percent in 2023. In terms of offline expansion, Skechers' offline sales outlets in China exceeded 3,500 in 2023, and it invested in constructing a 2,000-square-meter live broadcasting base in Dongguan, intensifying investments in live-streaming e-commerce and deepening its transformation and digitization efforts.