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News from China
Pandemic gives online shopping new relevance among shoppers
8th June 2020

 During the coronavirus lockdown, many consumers found online shopping and courier services a blessing to get daily necessities.

 
Now, with the pandemic under control and life returning to some sense of normality, many people
 
aren’t showing any inclination to return to their old buying habits.
 
The already robust digital shopping age, it seems, is attracting even more consumers.
 
People who benefited from delivery of online orders have praised courier staff for the lifeline they provided to bring food and drugs during a strict lockdown.
 
The State Post Bureau said the total number of domestic courier packages shipped in April went up 27 percent to 625 million, despite the resumption of most business operations and major stimulus measures introduced to boost online shopping.
 
According to a latest Nielsen survey, 24 percent of Chinese mainland consumers expressed an increasing demand for takeaway food and 37 percent favor home food deliveries.
 
Nearly 70 percent of respondents said they purchased daily necessities or fresh products more than twice a week. And 89 percent said they are more willing in the future to make online purchases of such products.
 
“The COVID-19 epidemic is changing purchasing behavior and the channels used to shop,” said Justin Sargent, president of Nielsen China. “For many, old habits like eating out may be replaced by new habits due to an altered environment where people reassess where they’re eating.”
 
Online sales are becoming more of a necessity than an option for both retailers and consumers. Retailers are expanding their online channels and improving the integration of multichannel shopping, and e-commerce giants are strengthening their foothold in the offline realm as well.
 
The on-demand delivery platform of Alibaba Group said it hopes to bolster its delivery network and “smart” facilities, based on demand for contactless delivery services that surged during the coronavirus epidemic. In the first quarter, Alibaba said transactions of its fresh grocery store
 
Freshippo and online supermarket service unit Taoxianda both doubled from a year earlier.
 
Nationwide, both Alibaba-backed Ele. me and Tencent-backed Meituan Dianping plan to add thousands of food delivery lockers in first-tier cities to address the rising demand. The lockers allow delivery of goods without contact.
 
In some downtown office buildings and community neighborhoods, delivery lockers originally designed only for courier packages are being altered or modified for food takeaways.
 
Nationwide, thousands of such facilities are gradually being put into use, even as some neighborhoods have complained about the imposition of new charges. E-tailers like JD are helping eateries that used to offer only dine-in services go online.
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 8, 2020
Owner of maternity shop fined for false promotion
5th June 2020

 The owner of a maternity shop in central China’s Hunan Province was fined 2 million yuan (US$281,370), the maximum penalty for such an offense, for fraudulently advertising a protein drink as milk powder, People’s Daily reported on Friday.

 
Ai Ying Fang maternity store in Yongxing County was ordered to stop its false promotions immediately, according to the punishment given by the county market watchdog, the report said.
 
The store sold the Bei An Min protein drink as formula for children with milk protein allergies, and at least five kids who consumed the drink developed symptoms related to delayed growth.
 
Medical experts conducted thorough examinations on the children, and concluded that their conditions didn’t fit the so-called “big-headed doll” disease, the report said.
 
Children with rickets, a serious form of vitamin D and calcium deficiency, could have softening skulls and prominent foreheads, leading to the nickname.
 
But the report didn’t mention whether any other health problems were discovered among them. An earlier report by China Central Television said their condition will continued to be monitored.
 
The protein drink, which is produced by Tianjin Deheng Science and Technology Co Ltd, commissioned by Hunan Waverock Health Industry Co, met relevant quality standards, the report said.
 
Li Jianjun, a deputy head, and Cao Shishun, an official with the quality watchdog of Yongxing County, were removed from their posts, the report added.
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 5, 2020
Dozens injured in primary school knife attack
4th June 2020

 Thirty-nine people, most of them children, were injured in a knife attack at a primary school in southwest China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region on Wednesday, People’s Daily reported.

 
Thirty-seven students suffered minor injuries while two adults were seriously wounded, though none of them had life-threatening injuries, the report said.
 
A man allegedly started a stabbing spree at Wangfu Township Central Primary School in Cangwu County at around 8:30am.
 
The suspect was caught by police and further investigation is going on.
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 4, 2020
Top chain stores sales up over 5% last year
3rd June 2020

 The sales volume of China's top 100 chain stores reported an annual increase of 5.2 percent to 2.6 trillion yuan (US$366.1 billion) in 2019, recent data from the China Chain Store & Franchise Association showed.

 
Chain store operators also remained cautiously optimistic about their business outlook this year due to the coronavirus outbreak.
 
Fully 78 percent of chain store operators intend to add new outlets this year, but 42 percent estimate a drop of annual sales. Only 36 percent expect to achieve year-on-year sales growth.
 
The combined online sales of the top 100 chain stores increased 28.7 percent to 500 billion yuan last year, while convenience stores still largely relied on physical store sales.
 
A total of 73 chain store operators reported an average annual sales increase of 14.4 percent, while the remaining 27 saw an average drop of 9.6 percent.
 
Suning topped the ranking with 378.7 billion yuan in sales, followed by Gome Retail and Red Star Macalline Group; and the top players operate some 144,000 direct or franchise stores nationwide, up 5.9 percent from a year earlier.
 
Some 30 percent of department store chains and 40 percent of supermarket chains carried out renovations of existing store fronts to raise operation efficiency.
 
On-demand delivery has already been widely adopted with nearly 90 percent of supermarkets offering shopping convenience for nearby community neighborhoods.
 
Nearly one-third of supermarket chains set up delivery and dispatch facilities based on the vicinity of existing offline stores.
 
Nearly 60 percent offered group purchasing for online communities, while one-third of them also used livestreaming and other online promotional formats to attract foot traffic.
 
Source: Shanghai Daily, June 3, 2020

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