Chinese consumers don’t really care about sustainability — does Alibaba?

Written for Dao Insights You might have come across lots of fruits produced by Alibaba’s PR labours, parading its sustainability efforts done for this year’s Double 11, which coincided with COP26. CampaignAsia wrote Double 11 was less about the discounts and that sustainability is top of mind. Other English media outlets such as Reuters, SMCP, […]

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Writing on China

Most sports journalists ask dumb questions, like they’ll ask an athlete “Do you look forward to the match?” — and travel writing often lacks specifics, stacking superlatives: “The waterfall was amazing, and the forest stunningly beautiful.” Each way of writing or topic has its own problems. China writing is often caught in one of two […]

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Old is the song, yet new is the messenger

This month I watched two nationalistic war movies, which use nationalism not just as a backbone to a story, but also because it sells. First; ‘Operation Red Sea’ (红海行动) is a Chinese war movie from 2018, and stands part for a larger phenomenon, namely China’s newly found identity and its nationalism which it no longer […]

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If we are strangers, it’s difficult to be friends

If you read media like SupChina, Sixthtone or ThatsMag, you’ve probably run into some of these headlines: “Proposed immigration changes spark racist backlash in China” ‘Draft law sparks online racism’ “Immigration plans spur hateful comments” “Netizens outraged over proposed permanent residence rules” “Backlash in China over draft rule on permanent residency for foreigners” We would […]

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Apples & yogurt: What money means in China

Money is the invisible friend (or foe) that appears in every story. Janet, born in the 1970s Janet teaches about foreign-invested joint ventures in China at Fudan University. At the start of her lecture, she introduces herself starting from present to past. She now travels around the world advising big multinationals — but her roots […]

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4 functions of Chinese apps

Lots has been written on apps like WeChat or Tmall, but rarely articles zoom in on details. I’ll pick four functions here showing how well everything works together. These apps are not thrilling, but extremely functional. Mind you, these functions are used daily — not just by people handy with phones but most people between […]

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Western brands in China: hits and misses

Western companies looking to expand their business often underestimate the competitiveness of the Chinese market. Often, what stands in the way of success is a lack of understanding on what Chinese consumers value and how they shop. But then there are some that have done their research, made local partnerships, made necessary changes, and earned […]

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China’s young identity market

(Originally posted on Seventy-Magazine.) It’s hard to imagine how different China was only fifty years ago. Chinese people largely dressed the same, ate the same food in cantinas and decorated their homes in similar fashion. Few brands were known, most originating from before the Japanese Occupation, the civil war and the tumultuous 50s, 60s and […]

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The false start of QR codes in the West versus China

(Originally posted on Seventy-Magazine.com, translated in Dutch for MarketingFacts) Around ten years ago, when you used a urinal in a popular bar or cinema in Europe, chances were you had an advertisement poster in your view, with a big QR code in the lower right corner. Western marketeers used the QR code primarily to redirect […]

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Contextual China

(Originally posted on Seventy-Magazine.com, and in Dutch on Marketingfacts) When we think about China, we often reduce nuances to black and white absolutes. Either China is a country with oppressed people and smog-filled skies, or it is the juggernaut that will inevitably rule the world’s economy. Neither of these views is particularly useful, and rather […]

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