September 2022 Issue: Culture, Climate Change and Changes & Chances

Culture, Climate Change and Changes & Chances

Welcome to the NZCTA Young Associates Newsletter: a monthly-ish digest of happenings and articles for young people interested in the NZ-China space.

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We’re sliding into your inboxes today to recap our latest event: Intergenerational Changes and Chances in China! Also introduced in this newsletter edition is New Zealand Chinese Language Week - something we’re sure has been at the forefront of your social media recently - and we also look at climate change and the role China has been playing in the global green transition. If you thought the alliteration in this month’s title was something, count all the C words we've used in this introduction alone!

#1. China’s New Power System

Climate change has been at the forefront of headlines these past few months (and these past few years, one could say), and it is as though there's no end in sight for new updates about it, with China and its relevance being no exception. The focus on a global green transition has been gaining steam, and it has seen China take a key role in the change.

China is leading the creation of international standards for new power systems, supporting the shift towards low-carbon energy.

Now, you may be asking just what new power generation is. In short, the term refers to a power system comprising a variety of  energy production methods such as  wind, solar, nuclear and biomass. Important to remember, however, is that these energies are largely intermittent; that is, the resources they draw their energy from are often unstable, being vulnerable to the impacts of events like extreme weather.

Chinese innovators are receiving support from their government in the aim of developing and refining cutting-edge technologies beneficial to power generation, and the nation's leadership still stands by its goal to reach peak carbon emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

Recent price hikes for scarce materials such as oil have created further opportunities to dive into new alternatives. Europe’s present geopolitical crisis has similarly impacted the supply of fossil fuels and, in turn, the demand for renewables. Indeed, switching to renewable sources for energy production would be one way around these challenges.

China’s vision of improving the long-term sustainability of its resources are sure to help to keep it at the forefront of advances in energy innovation.

#2. New Zealand Chinese Language Week is (was) here!

Happy New Zealand Chinese Language Week! 新西兰中文星期快乐!

With almost 250,000 people of Chinese descent living in New Zealand, it’s both fitting and important that we take the time to appreciate & celebrate their cultures & languages.
New Zealand Chinese Language Week (NZCLW) is a Kiwi-led effort aimed at bridging gaps between New Zealand and Chinese cultures by encouraging Kiwis to try their hand at studying Mandarin Chinese.
New Zealand and China have grown to become close economic partners over the past two decades. As Aotearoa’s young people advance in their jobs and become tomorrow's leaders, a deeper grasp of other languages and cultures, including Mandarin, will not only prepare them for any trips they may take to China and Asia at large but also help them welcome different traditions and customs and foster tolerance and inclusiveness here in New Zealand.
In celebration of the initiative, dumpling classes, lion dances and calligraphy lessons have been held across the country.
While New Zealand Chinese Language Week may focus on Mandarin (China’s official language), it’s also crucial we recognise and celebrate the linguistic and cultural diversity of all our Chinese communities, with particular emphasis on the contributions these groups have made in shaping Aotearoa’s history and society. Chinese diaspora in New Zealand date back to nearly two centuries ago, with strong migration from China's modern-day Guangdong province solidifying Cantonese - until recently - as the most commonly-spoken tongue by Chinese language speakers here. More than 250 dialects fall under the umbrella of “Chinese” languages, and while both our governments’ promotion of Mandarin has seen an uptick in its popularity, this growth must go hand in hand with acknowledging and championing the presence, heritage and richness of non-Mandarin speaking communities in New Zealand. 
It's also important we avoid limiting NZCLW to promoting diplomatic and economic ties between New Zealand and China or simply art or cuisine. These aspects are undeniably important, however they make up just a handful of components underpinning the two nations’ relationship. Instead, we should build upon this mission by recognising and addressing the needs and histories of non-Mandarin Chinese communities via a diverse and inclusive approach. 

You can click here to learn more about this year's winners which include friends and supporters of the YA such as Cleo Gilmour and Alistair “All-Star” Crozier. We would be remiss not to acknowledge David Robertson and Min-ji Yang - both present and past members of the YA’s Executive Committee, respectively - as two individuals among numerous other Mandarin Superstars who have been recognised in years gone by!

#3. Event Review: Intergenerational Chances in China

China’s first digital natives are coming of age. With the split between generations becoming increasingly evident, digital marketer Eric Yu from United Media Solutions recently shared his views on how our equivalents of Generation Z, Millennials and Baby Boomers have all been differently impacted through technology, brand consumption and ever-changing social environments. In this YA webinar, Eric discussed four key topics:

  1. What changes have been happening in China?
  2. Who is the new buying power in the Chinese market?
  3. Practical examples of what kind of strategies can be utilised to target the rising sources of buying power in China.
  4. Using personal experience to trace insights into the differences between the younger generation in China versus their Kiwi counterparts, and how we can adapt to these variations.

Delving into these topics, Eric broke down the biggest changes in the Chinese market in 2021. With strong Covid-19 restrictions still ongoing in China, there has naturally been a large shift in the way Chinese consumers buy their goods, with a massive uptick in online shopping. Eric spoke to four key developments: convenience (such as same-day delivery, 7-day product return policies and smart AI built to recommend products based on your interests); value deals (such as loyalty programmes and ability to price compare in online ‘malls’); safe shopping experiences through contactless delivery and secure storage boxes; and the sheer wealth of options available to Chinese consumers.

Moving onto his second topic, Eric explained the new buying powers within the Chinese market by outlining various customer segments and drawing upon key differences that exist between each group. The consumer segments he spoke about alongside their characteristics are as follow:

Generation Z (born 1996-2012, from Tier 1 & Tier 2 cities)

  • High brand loyalty and consumption driven by community influencers, promotion intensity and loyalty programmes
  • Love for niche cultures
  • Strong self identity and willingness to say ‘no’ to what they dislike
  • Swift shift in culture and trends
  • Spend more time online compared to other groups
  • Willing to share content on their social media
  • Acquire information across various channels
  • Spend money to please themselves and are willing to pay for what they like
  • ‘Make more money, spend more money’ mindset

Xiao Zhen Qing Nian 青年 (born 1990-1999, from Tier 3 & Tier 4 cities)

  • A.K.A. ‘small-town youngsters’
  • Possess a good education
  • Come from cities with lower housing costs, better opportunities and emerging digital and lifestyle economies
  • 52.6% annual spending growth in last three years
  • ‘I see it, I want it’ mentality: purchasing products in line with their values and to express their personality

The ‘Silver Generation’ (senior citizens, 60+)

  • Make up 17.4% of China’s total population
  • Most own smartphones
  • Average spending on F&B products is 3.6% greater than total average. Travel expenditure is three times higher than that of millennials, owing to this group having both the time and money

After detailing these customer segments, Eric discussed ways in which businesses could use Chinese platforms to best cget through to each demographic. With over 800 million internet users in China, there are in excess of 100 million active netizens across various mobile apps. One popular Chinese platform that most people will have heard about - but may not be fully familiar with - is WeChat, a free messaging and calling social app that has expanded to include payment and shopping functionality.

The average user spends 90 minutes per day on WeChat, and the platform offers better business communications, experiential customer services and seamless payment services, as well as rich social reach.

Drawing upon his own WeChat usage, Eric admitted to spending up to five hours per day on WeChat due to the nature of his job in marketing. He uses the platform for work, social media interaction with friends, and its accessible payment services.

With so many active users, WeChat provides businesses with a wealth of data that includes users’ location, what they buy, how much money they have in their WeChat wallet, who they talk to, their age group, and what articles they read. This volume of big data is invaluable to businesses looking to tap into and support marketing activities and brand loyalty due to its effectiveness at shedding light on what each demographic is really after.

To conclude the webinar, there was a round of audience questions for Eric regarding the importance of customer segmentation and the key values Chinese consumers care most about when making purchasing decisions. Eric responded to these queries by saying how loyalty programmes, which are very common, generally work well - with the disclaimer that values are very age-dependent.

You can watch the full recording of the webinar with Eric on our YouTube channel here!

Event review written by Logan Emery on 26th September, 2022.

Have a piece you’d like us to feature or share? Or an idea/opportunity you would like us to offer? Do you have general questions/comments? Let us know through our socials below!If you’re reading this as a forwarded email, hello! Subscribe here.

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Editors: David, Melanie, Logan and Milly

Disclaimer: Opinions expressed in this newsletter are the sole opinion of the NZCTA Young Associates and do not represent the opinions of the wider New Zealand China Trade Association or any of its executive committee.

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