Column: China’s resilient commodity imports contrast with weak exports – Russell

LAUNCESTON, Australia – If the sharp plunge in China’s exports in February shows anything, it’s that a gap is opening between what the country is shipping out and its still resilient imports of major commodities.


Reuters: Arts

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China’s Li Ning Polishes Fashion Credentials With a Second Designer Collaboration

LONDON — Li Ning, China’s leading sports apparel-maker, is collaborating on a collection with up-and-coming designer Chen Peng that will debut at New York Fashion Week, part of a larger strategy aimed at giving the mass brand a more elevated, edgy appeal.
This is the second fashion collaboration this year for the athleticwear giant that was founded by the Olympic medalist of the same name. It was less than a month ago that Li Ning showcased its first fashion collaboration with Chinese men’s brand Pronounce during London Fashion Week Men’s.
For Li Ning, fashion associations mean business. Ever since the brand first presented its fashion collection in New York last January, it has met with a positive market response. Sales were up 17 percent in the first half of 2018.
The company’s market capitalization is at seven-year high and 67 percent larger than a year ago. The share price was 10.26 Hong Kong dollars, or $ 1.31, before the Hong Kong Stock Exchange closed for Chinese New Year on Feb. 4.
Feng Ye, general manager of Li Ning’s e-commerce unit, said the latest fashion collaboration falls under the newly launched division Counterflow, which focuses on streetwear and Chinese pop culture. “It has a more premium price

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China’s services sector moderates in January but still solid: Caixin PMI

China’s sprawling services sector maintained a solid pace of expansion in January even though growth moderated slightly, a private survey showed on Sunday, offering continued support for the world’s second-largest economy as manufacturing cools.


Reuters: Business News

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Why Ctrip, China’s Largest Online Travel Agent, Will Be Celebrating Chinese New Year

The largest annual human migration is underway. China’s 1.7 billion population will make 3 billion trips around Chinese New Year on February 5, according to government officials. It’s a logistical nightmare, clogging China’s airports, train stations and highways with traffic. But, for China’s leading online travel agent Ctrip.com International, it’s also a giant pay day.

The $ 20 billion Nasdaq-listed travel agent occupies 60% of China’s online travel industry and is the world’s second-largest online travel agent (OTA) after Priceline Group in terms of gross merchandise value, which measures the total value of services sold through a company’s platform. The Shanghai-based Ctrip, which bought flight comparison site Sky Scanner in 2016 and operates in the U.S. as Trip.com, expects to service 390 million domestic and seven million outbound trips by Chinese tourists this Chinese New Year.

According to Ctrip, Thailand, Japan and Indonesia will be the most popular overseas destinations for China’s tourists this New Year. The U.S. ranks number seven on that list, the same place it held in 2017. Ctrip co-founder and executive chairman James Liang said in January that he doesn’t expect China’s ongoing trade war with the U.S. to affect Chinese travel plans.

Liang founded Ctrip as a travel comparison site in 1999 after working eight years at Silicon Valley software company Oracle. Neil Shen, now founder and managing partner at Sequoia Capital China, joined as Liang’s co-founder along with Ctrip president Min Fan and board director Qi Ji.

The company’s first revenues came from hotel bookings, into which Ctrip expanded after the dotcom bubble burst and investor capital dried up. Two years later the company added flight reservations to its portfolio of services, then package holidays, corporate travel, bus tickets, train tickets and travel logistics.

Since 2003, when the company listed on Nasdaq, its market cap has swollen to 40-times its pre-IPO value and annual revenues have surged from $ 40.3 million in 2004 to $ 4.1 billion in 2017.

“The buying power is there, in China,” says CEO Jane Sun, who joined the company as CFO in 2005 after spending 12 years working in Silicon Valley finance. “In 2017 we offered 22 high-end tour packages priced at $ 200,000 each. It only took us 17 seconds to sell them all.”

According to McKinsey & Company, Chinese tourists made 131 million trips overseas in 2017 and spent a total $ 250 billion. The consultancy expects those figures to grow to 160 million and $ 350 billion by 2020. With only 5% of Chinese citizens owning a passport, outbound travel has exceptional room for growth and is one of the reasons why Ctrip was included amongst Fortune’s list of “Future 50” companies with strong growth prospects.

Ctrip’s tech prowess is one of its strengths. Sun says the company invests heavily in ABC – artificial intelligence, big data and cloud computing – and uses its proprietary data analytics to do things like push targeted adverts towards customers and help business partners such as hotels predict peak periods.

In 2017 Ctrip created a credit rating system – ever more the vogue in China – based on customer’s booking history. In a letter to shareholders, Sun explained that customers with higher credit scores will enjoy perks, such as deferring payment until arrival, and the system also allows service providers to “get a better sense of what kind of customers they will serve.”

However China’s two most formidable tech titans, Alibaba Group and Tencent Holdings, are both invested in the travel market too. Alibaba’s travel unit Fliggy, launched in 2014, has chipped away at Ctrip’s share in flight sales and, according to analytics company Trust Data, Tencent-backed Meituan Travel surpassed Ctrip in hotel bookings by volume last year.

Ctrip’s executives have routinely dismissed the idea that Meituan or Alibaba poses a threat to their own business and maybe that’s fair. With China’s outbound travel market still so unsaturated, there’ll be room for more than one player.

Fortune

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Meet The Fashion Students Defying China’s Rejection of #MeToo

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast

Near the end of 2017, as #MeToo began to morph from a Twitter moment to a cultural reckoning in the United States, a Chinese student named Puzhen Zhou sat in her gender studies class at Parsons School of Design and thought of home.

“We were having class at Parsons, which is a liberal school, and people were asking my opinion on [feminism],” Zhou told The Daily Beast. “In my country, we can’t even talk about feminism or victimization. People who are actual victims get overlooked.”

Stateside, stories of sexual harassment and assault were going viral. “Shitty men” from varying industries were exposed. Women’s Marches were held. Celebrities wore black dresses on red carpets in solidarity with survivors. Tarana Burke, the activist who started #MeToo, sat front row at Fashion Week.

Read more at The Daily Beast.

The Daily Beast — Fashion

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China’s Didi just announced a new joint venture to work on electric and hybrid vehicle projects

The joint venture, called BAIC-Xiaoju New Energy Auto Technology, will work to develop "next-generation connected-car systems" through projects related to new energy vehicles and artificial intelligence.
World News & Analysis

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China’s foreign direct investment into the US dropped precipitously in 2018, data show

Trade tensions, along with pressure on companies from Beijing, have caused a decline in Chinese direct investment into the United States. Still, Chinese home purchases and venture capital funding continue to grow.
Real Estate

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U.S. expects China’s top trade negotiator to visit ‘most likely’ this month

U.S. officials expect China’s top trade negotiator may visit Washington this month, signaling that higher-level discussions are likely to follow this week’s talks with mid-level officials in Beijing as the world’s two largest economies try to hammer out a deal to end a tit-for-tat tariff war.


Reuters: Arts

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U.S. expects China’s top trade negotiator to visit ‘most likely’ this month

U.S. officials expect China’s top trade negotiator may visit Washington this month, signaling that higher-level discussions are likely to follow this week’s talks with mid-level officials in Beijing as the world’s two largest economies try to hammer out a deal to end a tit-for-tat tariff war.


Reuters: Business News

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Third prototype of China’s C919 jet completes first test flight

A third prototype of China’s home-built C919 narrowbody passenger jet completed its first test flight on Friday, its manufacturer said, in another step forward in the nation’s push to become a global civil aerospace player.


Reuters: Arts

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Canada frees CFO of China’s Huawei on bail; Trump might intervene

A top executive of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei Technologies Co Ltd was granted bail by a Canadian court on Tuesday, 10 days after her arrest in Vancouver at the request of U.S. authorities sparked a diplomatic dispute.


Reuters: Technology News

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Technology is giving China’s retail sector a lead over its global peers, says JD.com vice president

High-end technologies like artificial intelligence are transforming China's retail space — and that's what sets the sector apart from the rest of the world, JD.com's Ling Chenkai told CNBC. 
Retail

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China’s Fantawild Launching Sixth ‘Boonie Bears’ Movie

Powerhouse Chinese entertainment group Fantawild is using the American Film Market to begin sales of “Blast Into the Past,” the sixth film in its hit “Boonie Bears” franchise. The film is in post-production and will be released in Chinese theaters in time for February’s Chinese New Year peak period. The previous film in the franchise, […]

Variety

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