China News Brief
    July 02, 2024

    China’s senior market reaches $2 trillion; Xiaohongshu launches micro-drama support program; Isetan closes Shanghai store after 27 years.
    An elderly man watches a stock exchange board on May 12, 2015 in Shanghai, China. Image: Getty Images

    China’s senior market reaches $2 trillion #

    The final consumption value of products and services designed with China’s growing older population  in mind has reached about 14.4 trillion RMB ($2 trillion). Low-cost travel, e-commerce, livestreaming by older influencers and sorghum wine – an alcoholic drink – are among that population’s top buys according to a white paper from Shanghai-based China Insights Consultancy and Chinese online education service QuantaSing Group.

    Xiaohongshu launches micro-drama support program #

    Xiaohongshu yesterday announced a significant investment in micro-drama content  during the Shanghai Micro Short Film Festival. It is focusing on creating a new content ecosystem centered around high-quality short films and has launched the Red Micro-Drama support program. Aiming to boost the micro-drama business, this initiative includes substantial advertising and resource support.

    Isetan closes Shanghai store after 27 years#

    Mitsukoshi Isetan Holdings closed its Shanghai Meilongzhen Isetan  department store on June 30, due to the lease expiring. This marked the end of its approximately 27-year history. The closure leaves only one Isetan store remaining in mainland China, located in Tianjin. Despite offering a range of Japanese brands like cosmetics and clothing, the Shanghai store struggled amid fierce competition from online shopping.

    Kuaishou unveils Vision Pro platform#

    Kuaishou’s Vision Pro platform launched  on July 1, becoming one of the first domestic applications for Apple’s Vision Pro headset. This version integrates core features of short video playback and interaction into a three-dimensional space. For example, Kuaishou Vision Pro supports simultaneous video browsing, personal profile viewing, and comment panel activation. It also supports enlarged screen surround playback: in immersive mode, the app can display up to nine videos arranged in a circular layout, allowing users to browse and filter videos of interest by waving their hands left or right.

    Diesel hosts Queer Champ event in Shanghai#

    On June 30, bloggers and community representatives dressed in Diesel SS24 looks gathered at Shanghai’s Grand Gateway 66 to collaborate on the Diesel Queer Champ event , celebrating Pride Month. At the event, guests expressed themselves through blending music, dance, and fashion.

    Pop Mart, Lamborghini launch limited edition collectible#

    Pop Mart and Lamborghini have reunited for a collaboration , this time creating a limited edition Mega Space Molly 1,000% collectible. The Molly figure is dressed in a golden spacesuit. Pop Mart previously collaborated with Lamborghini in 2023 on the Revuelto model, inspired by Lamborghini’s streamlined design and emerald color scheme. This year, Pop Mart teamed up with Tmall Little Black Box to launch the new Space Molly exclusively online.

    Makeup brand VNK closes Tmall flagship store#

    The Tmall flagship store  of the popular makeup brand VNK was reported on June 28 to have closed. While the store’s homepage is still visible, all products have been removed. Customer service confirmed the store’s closure and cessation of sales, but did not comment on whether an official announcement will be made. Similarly, the VNK official flagship store on Douyin has stopped selling, with only two items remaining, both showing a non-deliverable status. The Douyin store had temporarily halted sales at the beginning of June.

    Byredo opens 1st Guangzhou flagship#

    Byredo’s first flagship store  in Guangzhou has opened at Guangzhou Taikoo Hui. The store features a façade made from natural stone, delivering a minimalistic yet luxurious visual language. Inside the new space, the stone platforms displaying the classic products are crafted from raw stone. The store offers classic fragrances, home fragrances, body and hand care products, and cutting-edge makeup.

    BYD, Xpeng, Geely invest billions in ASEAN expansion#

    Frozen out by tariffs in Europe and the US, Chinese electric vehicle makers are poised to penetrate further into Southeast Asia , where the market value for cleaner cars is approaching $100 billion. BYD, Xpeng and Geely are pumping billions of dollars into Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia, aiming to seize a greater share of their fast-growing markets for sustainable vehicles.

    Toyota seeks Tesla-like benefits for Shanghai plant#

    Toyota is in discussions with Shanghai authorities about building a wholly owned factory , aiming to produce electrified cars for its premium Lexus brand, according to insiders. The Japanese automaker is seeking benefits similar to those Tesla received, including tax breaks and policy support, to control the facility outright. This move, occurring amid Toyota’s struggles in China’s competitive market, aligns with CEO Koji Sato’s strategy to emphasize battery electric vehicles. Despite past sluggish sales in China, Sato sees battery electric vehicles as a key component of Toyota’s multi-pathway approach, which includes various power trains.

    Celine reopens renovated boutique in Hangzhou#

    On June 26, Celine reopened its renovated boutique  located in Hangzhou’s MixC City. Celine China brand ambassador Zhang Jingyi, actors Gao Yuanyuan, Wei Daxun, and Sun Qian jointly attended the reopening event. The revamped store showcases men’s and women’s ready-to-wear clothing, leather goods, accessories, haute couture perfumes, and jewelry collections. It also features contemporary art pieces, such as paintings and sculptures.

    Pudong Airport expands global routes as passenger numbers surge#

    Shanghai’s aviation market has rapidly recovered  this year, bolstered by Pudong International Airport’s expanding global connectivity. With 48 countries/regions served and 118 international routes, recent additions include Manchester, Marseille, and Penang. In the first half of the year, Pudong Airport handled 14.79 million passengers, a 1.8-fold YoY increase, driven by relaxed visa policies and increased international flights. Shanghai’s air ports also saw a 173% YoY surge in inbound foreign passengers, totaling 8.067 million.

    China’s summer air travel bookings soar#

    According to data from TravelSky, as of June 27, during the summer peak travel period  of 2024 (July 1 to August 31), domestic flight bookings exceeded 18 million, up 23% YoY. International flights recorded approximately 145,000 planned flights, with bookings nearing 7 million, a significant 93% YoY increase. The top 10 popular international destinations were Bangkok, Seoul, Tokyo, Osaka, Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Taipei, London and Phuket.

    Laos flight searches surge after visa-free announcement#

    According to data from Fliggy, within one hour of Laos’ visa-free policy announcement on June 26, searches for flights to Laos  surged nearly twofold. Kunming, Guangzhou, and Chengdu are among the popular departure cities for travel to Laos in recent times. Xu Jie, Fliggy’s head of international flight operations, stated that Laos is one of the favored Southeast Asian destinations for Chinese tourists.

    Gucci faces discrimination lawsuit from former employee#

    Gucci is facing a lawsuit  in Chicago from former employee Tracy Cohen, alleging discrimination and unfair working conditions. Cohen claims to have suffered age and mental health discrimination during her 18-year career, being coerced into overtime and facing retaliation after raising work condition concerns. Her lawyer has cited Gucci for alleged misconduct including sweatshop practices, coercing pregnant employees to terminate pregnancies, and disregarding sexual harassment allegations.