Chinese graduates with foreign degrees coming home to earn more
Young Chinese professionals who have earned a degree abroad earn on average 17.2 percent more than compatriots who hold a degree from a domestic university, according to a survey of 100,000 graduates by Beijing-based recruitment firm BossZhipin.
The firm found that young professionals with a foreign degree earned RMB 7,306 (US$1,097) a month on average – short of their RMB 8,315 (US$1,249) expected monthly income. The firm’s report also claimed that Chinese graduates with degrees from France and Germany earned more on average than graduates with degrees from other countries.
Increased Golden Week tourism highlights industry potential
Officials reported that more than 700 million people in China traveled during the mid-Autumn Golden Week festival, which occurred last week between October 1 and 8. That figure marks roughly half of the 1.4 billion people who live in China, and represents more than a 10 percent increase on the number who traveled during last year’s festival.
The National Tourism Administration (NTA) reported that 705 million people traveled within China, spending approximately US$87.68 billion. The NTA said this expenditure marked a 13.9 percent increase on the amount of holiday money spent last year.
Market for e-cigarettes grows as tobacco regulations tighten
China accounts for 45 percent of all cigarettes consumed globally. The statistic appears to be one that officials are interested in curbing: the government raised taxes on cigarettes from five to 11 percent in 2015, further banned foreign investment in the tobacco industry in 2016, and following a number of citywide bans, a countrywide ban on smoking indoors will take effect later this year.
Many industry observers expected these reforms to encourage the use tobacco cessation products, such as e-cigarettes (commonly referred to as vaporizers or “vapes”). Indeed, a pharmacist in China invented e-cigarettes in 2003, while an estimated 90 percent of the world’s e-cigarettes are made in the southern city of Shenzhen. The vast majority of these e-cigarettes are exported abroad, but the domestic market for e-cigarettes is now growing.
New Retail’s epicenter: Hangzhou’s “More Mall”
Alibaba is reportedly building a five-story shopping complex in Hangzhou. The development marks the fruition of “New Retail“, a term coined by Alibaba founder Jack Ma to describe “the integration of online, offline, logistics, and data across a single value chain.” According to media reports, the five-story shopping complex will host several Alibaba brands, such as the Taobao retail brand and the Hema grocery brand, with innovative features, such as unmanned stores and virtual fitting rooms.
Can e-commerce giants like Alibaba do brick and mortar retail better than traditional retail players? Retail industry observers will closely watch for early signs of the success or failure of More Mall, which will be located near to Alibaba’s headquarters. Some observers believe the combination of e-commerce, physical space, and high-tech logistics will become the future of retail, but other analysts note that New Retail may only mark e-commerce’s peak: e-commerce sales have begun to slow.
China’s State Council to promote foreign investment growth
On August 16, the State Council released a circular (Guo Fa  No. 39) that detailed measures to promote foreign investment growth as part of China’s opening-up strategy.
The circular entails 22 measures that could be divided into five categories, including reducing market entry restrictions for foreign investment, making supportive fiscal and taxation policies, improving the investment environment for national development zones, attracting foreign talent, and optimizing the business environment.
While concrete policy plans to help foreign investors have yet to be issued, foreign investors could take the circular as a positive sign of the government’s intent to further relax restrictions on foreign investment. This is particularly the case as specific ministries have been put in charge and implementation timelines have been outlined for each measure in the circular.
Alibaba’s second quarter revenue surpasses estimates
e-Commerce giant Alibaba has reported a 56 percent revenue increase since the first quarter of this year, surpassing forecasts made by Wall Street. This growth is driven by the surge in numbers of Chinese consumers buying a wide range of products online.
Alibaba’s profits reached RMB 50.1 billion (US$7.51 billion) during the second quarter. 86 percent of this revenue came from its e-commerce services, up from 73 percent during the same period last year. While the increase in Alibaba’s stocks were driven mostly by its e-commerce services, expansion in cloud computing and entertainment ventures diversified its core business.
Revenue from its cloud business grew by 96 percent to reach RMB 2.4 billion this quarter, with paying customers reaching one million, up from 577,000 last year.