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DESCRIPTIONChina 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!
MADE BETTER IN CHINABrands and innovations from China are going global. You aint seen nothing yet!
trendwatching.coms free Monthly Trend BriefingJune 2012
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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 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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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
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
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.
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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
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
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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
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
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:
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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
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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
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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
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
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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