China’s dominance in manufacturing has made it the factory of the world. The subsequent economic growth enriched an ever-expanding middle class, and the country’s retail industry has quickly adapted to supply a growing appetite for consumption.
Some of these developments in the way people spend their money, powered by the latest technology, will soon be appearing on a device near you. Indeed, at the start of this year, The Economist suggested that retailers everywhere should look to China, and some are already doing so.
So what will China’s “retail revolution” bring to the rest of the world? Here are five concepts for global consumers to be on the lookout for…
Increases in disposable incomes have led to a rapid growth in the number of Chinese people eating out, seeking entertainment and travelling. Traditional e-commerce businesses sold general goods, but did not offer a new lifestyle.
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That’s where digital “super-platforms” came in. Meituan, for example, which has over 600 million users and is valued at US$100 billion, provides almost every type of lifestyle service and entertainment. It offers restaurant reviews, takeaway deliveries, travel bookings, movie tickets, bike rental and more.
Consumers elsewhere can expect omnipresent “superapps” to penetrate every part of life, as the delivery and ride-hailing service Grab is doing in southeast Asia, by moving into financial services.
Merging online and offline
The integration of online and offline consumption is already familiar to many shoppers. But in China digital platforms like Taobao, JD.com and Meituan offer much more than the likes of Amazon. They sell everything from rice and phones, to villas and space travel.