Time-honored Chinese brands cooperate to satisfy consumers with creative products

Cross-industry collaboration has become a recent trend in an attempt to satisfy Chinese consumers’ growing taste for innovative products, Morningpost.com.cn reported on Oct. 22.

The most recent example of such cooperation has been the clothing range made by Shanghai-based clothing brand TYAKASHA and China’s largest rice cake and flavored milk producer, Want Want China Holdings Ltd.

The clothing range became a hit as soon as it was released online, with the manager of Want Want stating that the sales were beyond the company’s expectations.

Analysts attributed the success to the product quality and reputation of the two brands.

Shanghai Jahwa is a pioneer of cross-industry collaboration in China. This June, its flagship product, Liushen Florida Water, a widely-used mosquito repellent, collaborated with Chinese alcopop brand Rio to produce a special-flavored cocktail.

The two products fit well together, and their collaboration was a sensation on social media. 5,000 bottles of the cocktail sold out in just 17 seconds.

Cross-industry collaboration is eye-catching and can spark heated discussion. Therefore, many products are actively seeking this innovative business model.

These collaborations can lead to different outcomes. For example, an empty bottle of the Liushen cocktail is currently priced at 300 yuan online, even though it has been four months since the drink was launched. However, the influence of other products, such as the White Rabbit candy-flavored lip balm, jointly produced by Maxam and White Rabbit, didn’t last long.

A marketing expert said that the key to creating a favored product through cross-industry collaboration is to find a consumer-loved brand, and then build a new, innovative product. He said most brands winning recognition are from the food industry.

Additionally, successful products under cross-industry cooperation were not mass produced. Instead, a limited number of such products have been sold at one time as a marketing strategy.

International sniper competition concludes in Beijing

(An Xiaohui/People’s Daily Online)

The Special Police of China won both the individual and team championships in the “Sharp Blade 2018” international sniper competition, which concluded near Beijing on Oct. 22, 2018.

Hosted by Chinese armed police forces, the 5-day competition consisted of 12 major events including lurk sniping, selective sniping on valuable targets, and long-distance search sniping in the mountains. More than 100 top snipers from 21 countries such as China, Belarus, Hungary, Israel and Pakistan participated in the competition.

The sniping competition is held every other year by the Chinese armed police forces while the first competition was held in Beijing from Aug. 22-25, 2016.

2018 UCI WorldTour in Guangxi ends

The finale of the 2018 Gree UCI WorldTour Tour of Guangxi was held in Guilin, southwest China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, on the morning of Oct. 21.

For the first time, a total of 18 world-class cycling teams gathered in Asia, leaving an indelible mark on the 2018 UCI WorldTour.

The road cycling race was authorized by Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), co-organized by the Chinese Cycling Association (CCA), the government of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region and Wanda Group, and was sponsored by Gree Group.

Positive changes for Chinese people over four decades of reform and opening up

(People’s Daily Online Overseas Edition)

In celebration of the 40th anniversary, a series of real stories from Chinese people have been gathered below, to reflect the positive changes brought by China’s reform and opening up over the past four decades.

The Pamirs: From kerosene lamps to electric lamps

In the hinterland of the Pamirs in northwest China’s Xinjiang Autonomous Region lies a base of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, with no more than four hours of sunshine every day due to the two 5,000-meter snow mountains on either side.

For many years, the frontier army had to write to their families and wait for the reply, which generally took several months to arrive. It’s hard to imagine that kerosene lamps were the main lighting tools there and their only entertainment was a game of poker.

Things have dramatically changed since China’s reform and opening up. From the fixed-line phone to smartphone, and from voice call to video call, fast developing communications technologies have made keeping in touch with families a more accessible and more frequent thing, waving goodbye to traditional letter correspondence.

Technology has changed our lives and narrowed the distance between the camps and the outside world, said instructor Xing Wentao.

“I thought the border regions meant harsh living conditions without electricity and signal, but unexpectedly, modern technology has reached even these frontiers,” said Qu Yunlong, a soldier who just joined the army.

(People’s Daily Online Overseas Edition)

Yunnan: Village with full broadband access

A 43-year-old Tibetan villager witnessed the last 40 years in Deqin County of southwest China’s Yunnan province first hand, saying that significant changes have taken place in all aspects of his daily life.

As he recalled, there was no technology in his village when he was young. The most advanced tool at that time was the loudspeaker in each household used for broadcasting daily notices.

A small hydropower plant supported the village’s electricity. The plant only worked from noon until 10 p.m. However, after the machine was sent away for maintenance for an extended period, the power station fell into disuse until electric wires were installed.

Now, modern televisions are no longer a scarce commodity for villagers, and broadband is available in every household.

Shandong: Efficient vegetable growing

Du Chunqiu comes from Shouguang in east China’s Shandong province, a city known as China’s vegetable capital. He has been a farmer for almost 30 years, planting a range of vegetables including peppers, chives, eggplants and cucumbers.

Cultivating vegetables used to be taxing in both time and water consumption, but with new breeding technology and scientific methods, the efficiency and quality of crop growing have been greatly enhanced.

Furthermore, farmers wearing masks are now impacted less when spraying pesticides, which are also less poisonous than before.

Chinese overseas acquisitions reached $22 billion in first half of 2018

The value of Chinese outbound mergers and acquisitions (M&As) in the first half of 2018 reached $22 billion, business consultancy Bain & Co. said in a report released on Oct. 11.

Although the value of outbound deals declined compared with those from the 2015-2017 period, Chinese companies have gained market shares in utilities, construction and online business in Brazil, India and Indonesia.

The report showed that in 2016 and the first half of 2017, the value of overseas M&A transactions by Chinese companies stood at $118.7 billion and $56.7 billion respectively. From 2015 to 2017, in the Asia-Pacific region, Chinese companies were involved in more than 40 percent of M&A deals for three consecutive years, while the number of transactions aimed at acquiring all shares increased significantly.

Among them, the number of cross-border M&A deals with a target of 100 percent control from Chinese companies doubled in the 2016-2017 period when compared with the 2013-2015 period, while the number of transactions to acquire 50 to 100 percent ownership more than tripled.

The report indicated that Chinese companies enjoy tremendous opportunities in overseas mergers and acquisitions.

In 2017, China only spent 0.6 percent of its GDP on overseas mergers and acquisitions, about half the percentage spent by Japan. Furthermore, the number of overseas M&A transactions by private companies is growing much faster than those of state-owned enterprises.

China’s Hezhou prepares “longevity feast” to celebrate Double Ninth Festival

To celebrate the Double Ninth Festival, also known as “senior citizen day” in Chinese society, a special feast was prepared in Hezhou, a city in southern China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, which for centuries has been famed for its residents’ unusual longevity.

Earlier this year, the Tourism Development Commission of Hezhou, as well as a vocational school and a cooking association, organized a team to study delicacies with features of “longevity.”

Finally, a special feast was designed. The meal was made up of 20 dishes including traditional Chinese tea, soup, and other delicious food.

More Chinese, both young and old, are writing wills

A staff member of the China Will Registration Center in Beijing guides a senior citizen to fill in a reservation form before she can write her will.

Senior Chinese citizens are becoming more open-minded in regards to writing wills. In the last two months, about 7,500 Beijing seniors made an appointment at the China Will Registration Center, China Youth Daily reported on Oct. 17.

Some of them will have to wait for more than a year to register after this initial appointment.

Launched in 2013, the center now has branches in Beijing, Tianjin, Guangdong, Jiangsu, Guangxi, Shanghai, and Chongqing. By the end of 2017, it had offered a free consultation to more than 100,000 seniors and archived around 82,000 wills.

The center stated that the older people become, the harder it is for them to make a will due to worsening health. Between 2013 and 2017, about 64.05 percent of senior Chinese citizens failed to create a will because they were no longer capable of completing the necessary formalities independently.

For example, an 88-year-old grandma in Beijing, whose illness worsened after her first will was made in 2014, had almost lost her writing ability when she tried to amend her will three years later.

It seems that the younger generation are listening to the troubles of their elders, with figures showing that more people are writing wills earlier in life. The number of people aged 30 and over who have written a will has risen by 30 percent year-on-year, according to Li Zongyong, head of a notary office in Beijing.

Young white-collar workers in high-pressure jobs opt to write wills for fear that they might die due to stress, leaving their possessions disposed of improperly.

Other young people appoint their parents as beneficiaries, believing that leaving their possessions, such as houses, bank cards and money management contracts to their parents is better than bequeathing them to someone else.

The properties of young people are sometimes virtual, such as money locked up in Alipay or WeChat Pay accounts. According to the General Rules of the Civil Law of China, which came into force in October 2017, these are lawful personal properties of natural persons and can be lawfully inherited.

China’s reform and opening-up further links Chinese people with the world

Students in Vietnam greet China.

The 40 years of reform and opening-up in China has promoted an increased interaction between Chinese people and the rest of the world.

Since China’s reform and opening-up, more and more Chinese have traveled outside of China to communicate with the world. The following stories are from three Chinese citizens who have traveled, worked and volunteered overseas, to discover their perspective on how China is integrating with the world.

Ding Qiuge, a woman from a small village in central China’s Henan province, traveled together with her family to attend her daughter’s wedding ceremony in Phuket, Thailand this year. She told People’s Daily that it was her first time outside of China, and that she never dreamed she would be traveling abroad at the age of 52.

She explained that to travel abroad was once beyond the imagination of her generation, adding that when she was a child, people were excited to receive small gifts from as far afield as Beijing or Shanghai.

Ding’s first trip abroad impressed her greatly. “Everything there was fresh to me, and the scenery was breathtaking,” Ding said, adding that she was also fond of Thai food.

The constant rise in outbound Chinese tourism indicates the continuous improvements to the life of those living in China in the 40 years of reform and opening-up. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the number of outbound tourists from China has ranked first in the world since 2013.

Between 1995 and 2016, the number of Chinese outbound tourists rose from 5 million to 135 million, with an average annual growth rate of 17.6 percent. In 2017, 136 million Chinese residents went abroad for private purposes, accounting for more than 95 percent of total outbound tourism.

The reform and opening-up, enhancing China’s overall abilities over the past four decades, also encouraged Chinese enterprises to go global and expand their business overseas.

Foreign students learn to write Chinese characters.

Zhang Jin, an assistant chief engineer from a state-owned engineering company, was part of the earliest group to take part in a Chinese project overseas. In 2001, he was deployed to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for a hydraulic engineering project.

Zhang didn’t know what to expect from working overseas, adding that though he had some friends working in foreign companies back then, he had never considered working in a foreign country.

After working for years in the UAE, Zhang gradually noticed changes in the development between the two countries. “When I first came to Dubai, there were limited air routes from China, but now several cities in China such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou have opened direct flights,” he said.

Moreover, Chinese investment and business are commonplace in the city now, and Chinese company advertisements are everywhere, he added.

According to statistics released by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, from 1982 to 2000, China’s foreign direct investment was only $27.8 billion. However, between 2002 and 2017, the figure soared to $1.11 trillion.

Today, more Chinese people like Zhang are working overseas. Statistics from China’s Ministry of Commerce showed that a total of 994,000 Chinese citizens were working in foreign countries by the end of August this year.

Feng Ai and African children.

Feng Ai, honored as one of “the top ten young volunteers” in China, served as a volunteer overseas in 2005.

Feng said that when she visited Nepal in 2002, she was surprised when some children were able to say “hello” in Chinese, and she even found a board with “hello” written on it in Chinese during her time in a small village. Thanks to this trip, she decided to become an international volunteer and help people in need outside of China.

Three years later, in 2005, Feng joined one of the earliest volunteer groups sent to Africa by the Chinese government, teaching Chinese at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia.

Feng said that in the beginning, her family expressed concern about the life of a volunteer in Africa. However, much to their delight, Feng shared that the locals were curious and friendly towards Chinese people.

Taxi drivers would say “hello” to her in Chinese when she walked along the street, and Chinese Kung Fu was well-known by locals, Feng said.

Six months later, Feng became the only volunteer to extend her service, staying for one year in total. During this period, she not only worked in overseas enterprises, but also shuttled between the embassies of Italy, Turkey, South Korea and other cities in Ethiopia, giving full play to the language and service advantages of volunteers.

“We were the first group of volunteers there, and we were always exploring what we could do and what they needed,” Feng said, adding that the first group was made up of 12 volunteers in the fields of Chinese language, agriculture, sport, traditional Chinese medicine and informatization, and by the second year there were more than 50 volunteers.

Since the reform and opening-up in China, Chinese youths continue to gain more opportunities and choices to volunteer abroad.

Commentary: Who creates China’s success?

Starbucks Coffee, the global leader in coffee chain stores, signed an agreement with China’s e-commerce giant Alibaba to develop takeaway services just two months before the US Vice-President Mike Pence spoke on America’s China policy on Oct. 4.

Some US media commented that the trade war hasn’t stopped the development of American enterprises in China, saying that the cooperation between Starbucks and Alibaba proves the power of the Chinese market.

Starbucks first entered the Chinese market almost 20 years ago. According to its five-year plan for strong global growth, the company’s total revenue in the Chinese mainland during the financial year of 2022 is projected to triple that of 2017.

However, US politicians turn a blind eye to such bilateral win-win cooperation and instead complain, mistaking China’s success as a result of influencing US interests, boasting that “the US rebuilt China.”

Such voices echo the Washington administration’s “America First” policy frequently mentioned in the top leader’s speeches, thus easily leading the country into a self-centered mindset.

For example, the US only talks about its efforts in assisting China in its accession to the WTO and opening the market to China, but seems reluctant to mention the fact that China has been opening its market wider to the US since its accession to the WTO.

According to UN data, exports of US goods to China increased by 577 percent between 2001 and 2017, a far more substantial growth than the increase of US goods exported globally over the same period, which stands at 112 percent.

Moreover, the president of the US asserted that “much of China’s success was driven by American investment in China,” but didn’t mentioned that US enterprises also gain huge profits from the Chinese market.

Taking General Motors as an example, its production in China accounts for 40 percent of its total global output. Certain American financial institutions, such as Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, have also benefited from investment in their Chinese counterparts.

Over the past four decades of reform and opening up, China has created miracles, such as an average annual GDP growth of 9 percent, lifting more than 700 million people out of poverty, ranking as the world’s second largest economy and the most significant trading country with the most substantial foreign currency reserves.

Steven Rattner from Wall Street has been paying attention to China’s “mixed system”, which provides a guarantee for China’s robust economic development. Lianhe Zaobao, the Singapore-based Chinese-language newspaper, recognized the crucial role of the political system in China’s success. Moreover, some media outlets have reported the hardship of Chinese researchers under unfavorable conditions. US leaders have been asked to open their ears to such fair comments from the international community.

A country’s development primarily relies on itself. China has not won its success from others, nor has it come from the “free China” pursued by certain US leaders and political elites. Instead, it is a result of Chinese people’s hard work and the path with Chinese characteristics chosen by Chinese citizens.

Indeed, China’s development cannot separate from its win-win cooperation with other countries around the world, while the US is a significant partner of China. However, this does not mean that China’s economic growth relies solely on US investment.

China’s opening up is worldwide and aims to learn from the development opportunities in all countries. Now, China has established a trading partnership with more than 230 countries and regions and become the largest trading partner to over 120 countries and territories. Trade between China and countries outside of the US account for 85 percent of China’s foreign trade volume, and has broad prospects.

Chinese people, who are the creators of China’s achievements in development, ultimately have the biggest say in China’s development path.

Chengdu to launch “artificial moon” in 2020

Southwestern China’s city of Chengdu plans to launch its illumination satellite, also known as the “artificial moon”, in 2020, according to Wu Chunfeng, chairman of Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co., Ltd.

Wu made the remarks at a national mass innovation and entrepreneurship activity held in Chengdu on Oct. 10.

The illumination satellite is designed to complement the moon at night. Wu introduced that the brightness of the “artificial moon” is eight times that of the real moon, and will be bright enough to replace street lights.

The satellite will be able to light an area with a diameter of 10 to 80 kilometers, while the precise illumination range can be controlled within a few dozen meters.

The idea of the “artificial moon” came from a French artist, who imagined hanging a necklace made of mirrors above the earth, which could reflect sunshine through the streets of Paris all year round.

The testing of the illumination satellite started years ago, and now the technology has finally matured, explained Wu.

Some people expressed concern that the lights reflected from space could have adverse effects on the daily routine of certain animals and astronomical observation.

Kang Weimin, director of the Institute of Optics, School of Aerospace, Harbin Institute of Technology, explained that the light of the satellite is similar to a dusk-like glow, so it should not affect animals’ routines.