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Kim Kardashian enters China's influencer world. She says she'd love to eat hot pot and play mah-jongg

Alice Su, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

There is a trend of rising Chinese preference for Chinese goods, Rein said, particularly in consumer electronics, where Huawei mobile phones have taken over Apple's market share in China. But patriotism still isn't as important as getting a good deal when it comes to consumer decisions, he said.

"If the product is not comparable quality, they won't boycott. It's just like people still want to buy Canada Goose, because there's nothing comparable in China," he said, referring to the Canadian parka brand.

In a show of nationalism similar to the criticisms levied against Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey and the NBA for his comments supporting Hong Kong last month, Chinese social media users had posted calls to boycott Canada Goose after Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou was arrested in Canada last year.

But when mainland China's first Canada Goose store opened in Beijing the same month, shoppers lined up out the door, waiting for more than an hour in freezing temperatures to buy the $1,300 down jackets.

Chinese consumers are still big fans of U.S. products. Nike shoes and Supreme tees fill the streets of Beijing (though many are fakes). Coach bags and Tesla cars are status symbols for Chinese consumers, who account for a third of spending on luxury products worldwide.

And celebrities are still eager to sell to the Chinese, despite the potential restrictions of political censorship. Rihanna is marketing her makeup brand Fenty Beauty on TMall Global. Taylor Swift is headlining the countdown gala for Singles' Day next week.


Like much of life in China, online shopping is a cutthroat competition. On Viya's channel, you can only buy the products she advertises in limited-quantity waves. You grab a coupon first, wait for her to countdown, then click. But click fast: If you miss it, they sell out.

Sometimes Viya begs the producer to release just a few thousand more pieces of the product, available for just a few seconds. She ramps up the psychological pressure. The clicks come flying in.

Meanwhile, you watch Viya demonstrate everything she sells. She dabs lipstick on her wrist. She chugs a fiber supplement drink. She steams buns in an oven, fires up a vacuum cleaner, wipes off makeup, slurps a bowl of noodles; she can go for six hours at a time without missing a breath.

At her peak last month, she sold $49.7 million of goods in one day.


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