Topics Discussed and Key Points:
● The state of COVID in China going into the second half of 2021
● Why a work-from-home culture is probably not the future for China
● How consumer trends have evolved in the past 18 months
● Sectors to lead the charge in China’s economic growth going forward
● What to expect at the 6.18 shopping festival this year
● The development of the live streaming/commerce craze
● How the IPO of JD’s logistics division will impact consumer behavior, shipping, and logistics in the China market, along with Alibaba’s competitive relationship with JD
● How the Biden administration is doing so far with regard to the U.S.-China trade war
Today on The Negotiation, we speak with Jacob Cooke, co-founder of WPIC Marketing and Technologies, to gain an up-to-the-minute understanding of how well China is economically recovering from COVID and what consumer trends to keep an eye on.
Asked about the latest developments around COVID in China, Jacob says that the new normal is well underway: establishments are reopening and flight delays are once again a reality. The vaccine rollout has also been fairly smooth, even in big cities like Beijing.
Travel, however, is still quite restrictive, severely limiting the opportunity for ex-pats to return to the country. It is unlikely that the work-from-home culture, at least among foreigners with business in China, is here to stay. From the challenges of working in oftentimes widely different time zones to a lack of high-touch relationship-building and collaboration, Jacob simply concludes, “I don’t see work-from-home as being a thing here in China.”
Regarding the shifts in consumer trends over time, Jacob says that there has obviously been greater interest in the health and wellness space, particularly around remote classes and online education. Fashion and cosmetics, which had both seen a downturn at the onset of lockdowns, are fast becoming thriving industries once again.
Last year’s 6.18 shopping festival saw a much bigger bottom line than 11.11. With the economy’s drastic reawakening in 2021, the outlook for this year’s festival seems even brighter, especially as the popularity of live streaming/commerce continues to organically attract more people to these thriving online consumer communities.
JD Logistic’s IPO will incentivize up-and-coming eCommerce platforms to tap into the resources of these giants. By extension, these new platforms will soon have the opportunity to compete on a relatively fairer playing field as long-time monopolies finally begin to operate independently.
“I’ve never been a real huge fan of work-from-home. I think you lose a lot in the collaboration between your team members. I think you lose a lot in terms of the relationship-building, the creativity—those moments of brilliance that you get from just working together. I don’t see work-from-home as being a thing here in China.”
“What we like about Southeast Asia as an up-and-coming market is that we’ve got income levels rising very fast, as well as it being a very young base.”