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China still faces many potential obstacles in its attempts to foster a deep and lasting culture of innovation and creativity. However an avalanche of Chinese brands are already catering to an increasingly large and sophisticated internal market, and competing with and even beating established incumbents from all over the world at their own game. Just think what the future will hold when China is truly unleashed!

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  • MADE BETTER IN CHINABrands and innovations from China are going global. You aint seen nothing yet!

    trendwatching.coms free Monthly Trend BriefingJune 2012

    trendwatching.com/trends/madebetterinchina/

  • made better in chinaw w w. t r e n d w a t c h i n g . c o m 2

    No wonder then that examples of top quality, innovative Chinese* products

    and services brands are easier to find than ever. And if Chinese creativity ever

    gets truly unleashed, well, then we aint seen nothing yet! Hyper competition

    may need a new definition, as MADE IN CHINA is traded in for MADE BETTER

    IN CHINA.

    * In this Trend Briefing, Chinese means mainland Chinese. Weve filtered out

    many excellent examples from Hong Kong and Taiwan, as well as American

    Chinese entrepreneurs, powerful Western brands intensely partnering with Chi-

    nese ventures, and so on.

    DefinitionChina still faces many potential obstacles in its attempts to foster a deep and lasting culture of innovation and creativity (State economics! Politics! Demographics! The environment! Intellectual property!).

    However an avalanche of Chinese brands are already catering to an increasingly large and sophisticated internal market, and competing with and even beating established incumbents from all over the world at their own game. Just think what the future will hold when China is truly unleashed.

    DESIGNED BETTER IN CHINA /

    MADE BETTER BY CHINA FOR ALL /

    MADE GREENER IN CHINA /

    MADE ONLINE IN CHINA /

    MADE STRANGER IN CHINA /

    MADE TOGETHER IN CHINA /

    MADE BIGGER IN CHINA /

    MADE EASIER IN CHINA /

    MADE FASTER IN CHINA /

    MADE MORE LUXURIOUS IN CHINA /

    MADE BETTER IN CHINA FOR A WHILE NOW /

    Watch out for the following sub-trends:

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    1.URBAN BOOM

    DRIvERSThe lure of rapid riches is drawing Chinese to urban areas in droves. Just two recent stats to illustrate

    the mind-blowing scale of Chinas urban consumption boom:

    Urban household disposable income is expected todoublebetween 2010 and 2020(Source: McKinsey, March 2012).

    In 2010, China had 18 million households with an annual income above USD 16,000. By 2020, this number will be 167 million households. Thats nearly400million people(Source:

    McKinsey, March 2012).

    The outcome?A massive, sophisticated urban Chinese class ofCITYSUMERS, with a massive

    demand for high quality goods and services.

    Here are just three forces driving the MADE BETTER IN CHINA phenomenon:

    The demand for high quality goods and services has been met (more often than not) by Western

    brands trading on the status that comes with their heritage. Indeed, Western brands have

    scrambled to not only sell to Chinese consumers, but to pay homage to them. With special

    ranges or products that are MADE FOR CHINA, or by rolling out theRED CARPET to Chinese

    consumers around the world.

    Both of which have set the expectations of Chinese consumers, andgiven Chinese brands and

    entrepreneurs the inspiration and confidence to step forward, while still remaining mindful

    of the need to match or exceed the standards of quality set by the very best of their Western

    counterparts.

    2. BEST OF THE WEST IN THE EAST

    The impact of the Great Firewall of China is well-documented, but Chinaisconnected. With over

    513 million Internet users (compared to 245 million Americans online)*, Chinese entrepreneurs and

    consumers are part of the GLOBAL BRAIN:frantically feeding off (and adding to) global

    consumer culture and creativity.* Source: www.worldinternetstats.com, December 2011

    3. GLOBAL BRAIN

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    DESIGNED BETTER IN CHINA

    You know youve truly arrived as an economy

    when local art, architecture and design move

    from functional to desirable:

    Chinese architect Wang Shu was awarded

    the2012 Pritzker Architecture Prize in May 2012

    in Beijing, the first Chinese architect to win the

    prize for work on the Chinese mainland.

    Wang Shu: Wins 2012 Pritzker Architecture Prize

    The Brand New China Store, situated in Beijing,

    is a fashion and lifestyle store that focuses

    exclusively on Chinese designers. Selling clothes,

    accessories, furniture, home dcor items and

    paintings at a wide variety of prices. Its owned

    by Hong Huang, a major celebrity (media figure,

    blogger, television host and publisher) in China.

    Brand New China Store: A design store for and by modern China

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    Due to be completed in 2013, the Sinosteel

    International Plaza in Tianjin, China, was designed

    by Chinese architect Ma Yansong, ofMAD

    Architects. The Plazas steel faade ensures

    that no internal columns are needed within the

    structure, meaning more space can be used within

    the building.

    MAD Architects

    DESIGNED BETTER IN CHINA

    Hexagonal windows of various sizes create a

    pattern across the surface of the Plaza, and

    also improve energy efficiency. Their strategic

    positioning will help to preserve heat during the

    winter, and keep residents cool during the summer.

    Above: a global selection of designs from Beijing-

    based MAD Architects. These designs are all

    under construction or completed.

  • made better in chinaw w w. t r e n d w a t c h i n g . c o m 6

    MADE BETTER BY CHINA FOR ALL

    Despite Chinas growing economic power,

    there are still hundreds of millions of Chinese

    with relatively modest incomes. And alongside

    this huge domestic market, there are billions of

    In December 2011,China Unicomannounced that

    they would distribute Xiaomis MI-ONE, featuring

    a 1.5GHz processor, a four inch display, and an 8

    megapixel camera. Designed to capitalize on the

    growing domestic demand for reasonably priced

    smartphones, the MI-ONE costs CNY 1,999, less

    than half what comparable smartphones from

    Apple or Samsung usually cost.

    other emerging market consumers, making the

    rewards for Chinese brands which bring high

    quality, yet low cost products to market almost

    endless.

    China Unicom: Low cost smartphones

    At the end of 2011, Chinas state ownedJAC

    Motorsannounced an investment of USD 500

    million in Brazil, the worlds fourth largest car

    market. The companys first overseas factory is

    expected to produce 100,000 cars per year.

    JAC Motors: First overseas factory in Brazil

  • made better in chinaw w w. t r e n d w a t c h i n g . c o m 7

    MADE BETTER BY CHINA FOR ALL

    Operating around 1,800 stores across mainland

    China and catering to the countrys increasingly

    fashion-conscious youth, retailerMeters/

    bonwehas proved very popular. The brand

    offers reasonable prices and an international feel;

    indeed its often assumed not to be Chinese by

    consumers.

    Meters/bonwe: Chinese fashion with an international feel

    The sneaker brandWarrior(Hui Li in Mandarin),

    originally created for Chinese athletes, has

    been a household name in the country since

    the 1950s. The brand keeps its designs simple

    and unpretentious, maintaining its status as the

    everymans shoe. While the footwear retails for

    EUR 50-120 overseas (and features in publications

    such as GQ and Vogue), it is still affordable in the

    domestic market.

    Warrior Shoes: The everymans shoe everywhere

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    MADE GREENER IN CHINA

    With the Chinese government pushing the green

    agenda hard (for both reasons of economics

    and national pride), and both urban and rural

    populations mindful of increasingly visible

    The city of Shenzhen boasts a fleet of electric taxis.

    The fleet was supplied by Chinese automobile

    manufacturerBYD, and the pilot project has seen

    50 electric taxis take to the streets. There are plans

    to add a further 250 vehicles to the fleet during

    2012, as well as 200 electric buses.

    BYD: Electric taxis take to the streets of Shenzhen

    At the end of 2011,China ENFI Engineering

    Corpcompleted work on the worlds largest

    solar tracking station in Ningxia. The plants

    solar tracking systems deliver a 25% increase in

    capacity over traditional solar power stations.

    ENFI: Worlds largest solar tracking station

    environmental degradation, expect to see

    a steady stream of Chinese planet-saving

    innovations and initiatives:

  • made better in chinaw w w. t r e n d w a t c h i n g . c o m 9

    MADE GREENER IN CHINA

    TheTianjin Eco City, a joint initiative from the

    Chinese and Singaporean governments, has

    invited brands from around the world to help solve

    pressing environmental issues. In the next 10

    years, 350,000 people are expected to move to the

    city, trialing new systems and technologies. The

    government hopes that many of these will have the

    potential to solve the environmental issues facing

    Chinas huge cities.

    Tianjin: Eco-city experiments with practical solutions for greener living

    ChineseSuntech Poweris the worlds largest

    producer of solar panels, now totalling over 20

    million panels in over 80 countries. In early 2012,

    the company was named one of the worlds 50

    most innovative companies by MIT, partly due to its

    Pluto cell processing technology, which has since

    achieved a world record 20.3% efficiency.

    Suntech Power leads global solar panel market

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    MADE ONLINE IN CHINA

    Driven by a massive online population and

    the censorship of key Western online brands,

    Chinese services are not simply imitating

    the Googles, Facebooks and Twitters of the

    O.cnis a stylized online mapping service that

    covers 38 of Chinas largest cities. The 3D maps

    interface with social networks, and users can click

    on individual buildings and areas to access user-

    created and curated content.

    O.cn: Maps Chinas cities in illustrated 3D

    In 2011, Sina, the Chinese web portal, launched

    a check-in service called WeiLingDivia their

    resident Twitter-like website Weibo. Users are able

    to check-in at locations using WeiLingDi, earn

    badges, write reviews about local businesses, and

    connect with 60,000 verified Chinese celebrities.

    WeiLingDi: Check-in and review local businesses

    world. Instead they are often showing their

    better-known counterparts the way forward by

    integrating, if not adding to and enhancing,

    popular online services.

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    In early 2012, Chinese social network Renren

    launched a travel journal service, available online

    or as an app. TheFengcheservice allows users

    to create image-rich sets detailing their travels,

    ready to share with friends and family.

    Renren: Networking site launches social travel app

    Chinese group buying siteYikuairis tapping

    into the microblogging service Sina Weibo.

    The service carefully curates daily deals, and

    then lets Weibo users place a small deposit to

    secure the offer. Deposits can even be made

    using Weibos own virtual currency.

    Yikuair: Daily deals site offers micro group buying

    MADE ONLINE IN CHINA

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    IIn April 2012, the latest version of

    TencentsWeixininstant messaging app

    introduced users to its English-language name:

    WeChat. The app offers login via the vast QQ

    messaging network, which boasts over 700

    million users, and a range of additional features.

    These include recent features familiar to

    Facebook and Google+ users, such as Timeline

    and Circles, as well as QR tags, location-based

    services, voice messaging and a Game Center.

    Pinterestinspired Buykeelaunched in China in

    April 2012. The pinboard-style site differentiates

    itself from its predecessor, by focusing

    exclusively on luxury products and offering users

    the ability to buy what they are seeing.

    Tencent: Weixin app offers QQ instant messaging and more

    Buykee: Pinboards and purchasing power

    MADE ONLINE IN CHINA

  • made better in chinaw w w. t r e n d w a t c h i n g . c o m 13

    MADE STRANGER IN CHINA

    The rise of consumer culture in China

    has inevitably led to the creation of some

    remarkable products and services. However

    unusual consumers tastes, they are being met

    by Chinese brands.

    In 2011, former Soviet aircraft carrier,the Kiev,

    was converted into a luxury hotel by its new

    Chinese owners. The ship has 137 standard hotel

    rooms, three VIP guest rooms, two presidential

    suites, and a luxury restaurant.

    The Kiev: Former Soviet aircraft carrier transformed into luxury hotel

    China Postoffers a service enabling individuals

    to send letters from space, with a Space City 1

    postmark. Users send an email to Tiangong-1, a

    Chinese spacecraft orbiting the earth, which is

    then rerouted to a special China Space Post Office

    branch in Beijing. The emails are printed, placed in

    space-themed envelopes, stamped with a galactic

    postmark, and sent in the mail.

    China Post: Letters routed via spacecraft with galactic postmark

  • made better in chinaw w w. t r e n d w a t c h i n g . c o m 14

    MADE STRANGER IN CHINA

    Offering a memorable learning experience, the

    conspicuously namedSexy Mandarinis an online

    service that teaches users to speak Mandarin

    via YouTube and YouKu (the formers Chinese

    equivalent) videos, for free. The twist? All the

    teachers are attractive, sexily dressed women.

    Learn Mandarin the sexy way

    Chinese online shopping platformTaobao

    (commonly referred to as the Chinese eBay or

    Amazon), is reportedly working on an unusual

    initiative to spice up e-commerce Tao Girls.

    Customers will be able to choose (at a slightly

    higher cost) attractive women living in their city, to

    deliver their web purchases to the door.

    Tao Girls deliver

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    MADE TOGETHER IN CHINA

    As the most populous country in the world,

    and one with a strong collectivist culture, its no

    surprise to see a wave of innovative Chinese

    products and services that bring consumers

    together.

    Handsup.cnaims to hand power over to the

    consumer by asking them to recommend products

    and services they want to buy, as well as the price

    tag. The more users that want a particular product,

    the higher the chance of it being available, and the

    lower the price.

    Handsup.cn: Hands stock and pricing suggestions over to customers

    In late 2011, Chinese P2P lending

    siteCreditEasesecured a round of funding,

    while founder Tang Ning was honored by the

    Communist party. Both achievements signal the

    dramatic impact of P2P lending in China, where

    there are now over 100 sites offering services.

    CreditEase has become one of the countrys

    largest independent financial service providers,

    with more than 5,000 workers.

    CreditEase: P2P lending

  • made better in chinaw w w. t r e n d w a t c h i n g . c o m 16

    MADE BIGGER IN CHINA

    Whether its the size of the population, the

    cities, or the economy, China means big, if

    not biggest. Just three consumer-focused

    examples to illustrate:

    TheYoungman JNP6250Gis believed to be the

    largest bus in the world, capable of transporting

    up to 300 passengers. The first of the buses will

    be deployed in Beijing and Hangzhou, using

    dedicated highway lanes.

    Beijing & Hangzhou: Worlds largest bus

    Construction ofBeijing Daxing International

    Airp...