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China “experts” will tell you Chinese don’t have a sweet tooth – don’t you believe them.
The China Expert
In the west we have our Unicorn (among other fictional creatures.) In China the Unicorn equivalent is the China Expert. We are reminded of a comment from Andrew Kuiler, Founder of The Silk Initiative:
In truth, the average Chinese is no more or no less a sweet tooth than the average person from most other countries.
A quick walk up the confectionery isle in any supermarket, from a mega Alibaba to a local 7/11 will demonstrate Chocolate and sweets (that’s candy for non English speakers) are big sellers in China. Every chocolate brand you know and maybe a few you don’t, plus small, boutique stores selling hand made European specialities, flown in that morning.
If you still have doubts, the plethora of bakeries in any city or town in China should convince you. From international chains such as: Tous Les Jours to Bread talk, Beard Papa’s or local heavy weigh chains like Holiland, Wedome, plus small family owned shops, sweet treats are def de rigour in today’s China.
Interestingly Covid and the lemming like rush to e-shopping in China has seen an explosion in small bakeries offering on line products only. If you were considering that market, the elevator is probably well past the 31st floor by now, but still worth a chat with Andrew.
Lady M in China
This post was inspired by recent news that Lady M, a luxury confections brand which entered China in 2017 is apparently considering going self operated.
Shoppers lined up for hours when the first store opened in Shanghai. Two days later, citing inadequate security arrangements, police ordered Lady M to close temporarily after excessive queues caused chaos on the streets. At the time there were reports of scuffles, fights, pickpockets and shoppers blocking part of streets to traffic over several blocks.
July 2022, depending on which report you read, Lady M asked its Chinese partner to close their stores claiming the Chinese agency had different business philosophies. Others say that the decision was made after their partner shut outlets after talks to renew the license fell through.
However, a lot has happened in China and to Chinese society since 2017 and the bling bling, look at me, I can waste more money that you years. A younger generation of shoppers seem less focused on high priced foreign goods, the middle class are maturing, toning down their extravagance, Chinese quality in many things is as good, of not better than some foreign brands, and as we mentioned below, Chinese may be returning to saving more than spending.
Also, jumping back to our comment earlier, competition in the market has been whipped up and stiffened (bad puns we know) by smaller non shop front actors providing a cost effective, equal quality product on line – delivered to your door within a few hours.
For most people in Beijing and other bigger cities, that is less than the time it takes to find a car park. Not to mention the traffic hassle. Indeed, the last time the Lady M brand made headlines was about a year ago when it closed 3 Beijing stores. Perhaps the icing is melting on the luxury cake market?
Shifting gears, we are often asked by people with a few hours or a day to kill in Beijing Capital Airport, ( the North one) what is there to do to while away the time. The Shunyi Holiland “Cake Shop is a good option -we will explain more next Friday.
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Introducing Everlyne YU
In 2003 Everlyne Yu co-founded WPBeijing Marketing Studio with Englishman Peter Bic, now known as Bic Brands.
She began Uengager, as a SaaS MarTech company focused on customer engagement in 2017.
Hello, Nihao, I’m Everlyne
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