This week in the news, coffee is catching on as a daily drink in China, a new online luxury handbag rental service is a hit in Hong Kong, demand for diamonds is rising in China, Chinese investors are snatching up vineyards in Bordeaux, and e-commerce is booming in China’s big and small cities.
Though Chinese citizens drink only a meager five cups of coffee each year, one town—Fushan—boasts a much higher mean. The town, which lies in Hainan’s Chengmai County, averages 200 cups per person per year, only 40 less than the world average. The market in Fushan is thriving due in part to coffee farms that originated in the 30s. In the 1980s, foreign brands like Starbucks and Nestle made their way to China. These name brands have influenced the popularity of coffee in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai, but daily coffee drinking is still a foreign concept in most areas. The real driver of Chinese coffee growth is the younger generations that have embraced a number of predominantly Western commodities and brands.
Last November, businessman Tim Kau, fashion purveyor Bobo Rok, and celebrity Rosemary Vandenbroucke launched LuxTNT.com, an online service that rents out luxury handbags at just a fraction of their retail price. The idea is not a new one, but the website is a first for Hong Kong. Despite worries that the service would hurt designers, it is actually providing consumers with brand education, allowing potential customers to try the bags before they purchase them, and providing a space for lesser-known brands to advertise online. Though geared primarily toward female shoppers, the website is also developing a surprising male customer base. The company plans to extend their service to other kinds of accessories, as well as expand into the major cities of mainland China.
De Beers, the world’s biggest diamond producer, says it expects global demand for diamonds to rise this year due to a resurgent US market and new demand in China. Demand for diamonds grew 7 percent in the United States and 18 percent in China last year. Overall, China, including Hong Kong and Macau, is the world’s second-biggest diamond market and now makes up 13 percent of global diamond demand, and the company expects global demand to rise by 4.5 percent in total. The explosive growth in China’s diamond market comes at a time when the government is cracking down on blood diamonds. China has stressed the importance of adhering to the Kimberly Process Certification Scheme, which certifies that the diamonds are conflict-free.
The number of Chinese winery owners in Bordeaux has increased from 3 to 83 in just five years. Much of the interest vested in the red wine region is due to tourism and possible expansion of wine exports to mainland China. Chinese wineries in France are looking to attract Chinese travelers as they flock to European destinations. France saw 1.4 million Chinese visitors last year. In order to attract Chinese visitors, Bordeaux has plans to open a wine exhibit in 2016 titled Cite des civilisations du vin—Civilizations of Wine. Although the wine industry in France has appealed to some Chinese business developers, a recent dip in the sales of foreign wines in China has some a little weary. Wine imports fell to 6.8 percent this year.
The top three cities for e-commerce in China are Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and Hangzhou, according to a recent report from AliResearch. Dubbed the Alibaba E-Commerce Development Index, the study examined 294 cities in China. Over half of the cities on the top one hundred list came from six provinces, with six each in the Shandong and Taiwan provinces, nine from Fujian province in East China, 10 from Guangdong in South China, and another 11 each from the Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces. Cities in coastal and eastern China are leading the e-commerce boom, largely because of their greater populations and greater ratios of online shoppers and retailers. However, inland and third- and fourth-tier Chinese cities are experiencing considerable growth in terms of online shopping.
image source: diamonds.net