Week #31: 3 post-Double 11 doubts 🤨, Sports personalities visit China when no one wants to | Following the yuan
Visits of climbers Alex Honnold and Janja Garnbret, as well as fitness influencer Pamela Reif, reflect the country's hope for the business brought by sports and fitness.
Last week, I went to Splice Beta in Chiang Mai, an annual conference for media startups, alongside Hong Kong Free Press, Initium Media, PumaPodcast and Frontier Myanmar. It expanded my horizon, pulled me out of the China bubble, and allowed me connect with fellow newsletter creators behindand Ethiopia-based . (halo!)
Overtime, here are 3 things I will remember from the trip, aside from the awesome views and food:
Oh dear. I'm really not a fan of the Chinese way of networking, which typically involves swarming a speaker post-presentation to scan their WeChat ID. I realized this because Splice Beta was the complete opposite. <3
I was surprised to hear from at least 3 reporters that they don’t believe they can visit China any more because of the China influence stories they covered. This is genuinely SAD and a true reflection of China’s fearful image.
I feel like all media’s problem leads back to money: the structure of revenue streams and how sustainable they are. I went to multiple workshops to find out where to meet investors (thanks PumaPodcast!) and continue to ponder whether I should take on some sort of debt to grow faster. 🤔
*And of course, you can help me reach my goals faster by sharing Following the yuan OR becoming a paid subscriber today. 😃
1. GMV doesn’t matter, and other post-Double 11 festival doubts 🤨
Doubt 1 ✨: How special will Double 11 be?
This year, no one’s quoting any platform’s gross merchandising value (GMV), mostly because companies themselves aren't flaunting these numbers. This has become the norm since 2020 for two main reasons: the tech crackdown in late 2020 meant they needed to keep a low profile, and the growth rate had largely slowed down.
According to third-party data agency Syntun, the gross merchandising value of all main e-commerce and livestream platforms was 11.386 trillion yuan, which was up by ~2% compared to last year. Syntun considered 10.31-11.1 as their sales window (while JD.com’s festival started on 10.23), and e-commerce alone accounted for >81%.
There are many reasons behind this seemingly stagnant number, the most felt reason is the economic downturn. However, perhaps the largest one is consumer fatigue. A chart by domestic newspaper Shanghai Observer shows that 2/3 of a year is occupied by e-commerce festivals in China.
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