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“How has Asia welcomed the NEW YEAR OF THE RAT so far " ?

Updated: Feb 26, 2020

Chinese New Year in 2020, has received much attention this year as we embarked on welcoming the Year of the Rat!

It has been a stressful and challenging period for many individuals residing in China as well as companies that are already based in China that are trying to understand how they should manage their operations and teams, during the virus outbreak. It is also affecting companies who budgeted for investing into China in 2020, too.

In 2003 we experienced SARS, but the big difference between then and now is that today we have social media which fortunately has allowed people to remain informed and keep connected with regular updates. People in China are going out less and are staying at home more, and maybe that’s partly why eCommerce and all online businesses in China seem to be thriving.

For many people forced to stay at home during this crisis, online activities have been boosted, from grocery shopping, studying, and entertainment and now even homes. At a recent press conference (also held online), a leading property developer company based in Beijing, approximately 47,800 homes worth 58 billion yuan, were sold online, over three days. Over 10 million alone, had downloaded the app to purchase online.

Everyone across the region and internationally will face challenges in the months ahead. Whilst we recognise that the Corona Virus will have a profound effect on China’s economy creating more of a strain during an expected ‘down’ year, what does this mean for individuals and businesses. For brands on-top of their game, it’s an opportunity to communicate (or reposition themselves) around authenticity and empathy - to be a positive force during a challenging time. And, for some brands, who are already struggling in China, it might be push them to re-think their business models or look at opting out altogether and re-engineering their lives and businesses altogether.

For all brands, the crisis should be a cue to revisit their current business strategy, position with their stakeholders (employees, suppliers/partners, KOLs, media etc). For brands on-top of their game, it’s an opportunity to continue to communicate (maybe even reposition themselves) around validity and responsiveness - to be a positive force during a challenging time.

As China’s digital population continues to grow. There are 854 million Chinese citizens and its media (marketing) landscape is overwhelmingly digital. More than 70% of all ad spend is digital and approximately 80% of all digital advertising is targeted at mobile audiences. For brands, effective planning links together social media, content and video branding - with ecommerce and omnichannel retail/sales opportunities will be crucial.

Despite a slowdown in China during 2019/20, the market size and momentum warrant strong, long-term strategies from brands. So now more than ever is a time to see this opportunity as a positive one and to re-connect, revisit, review and re-position.

Sources: The Economist, Harvard Business Review, SCMP- Hong Kong, KPMG, Deloitte

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