The popularity of smartphones means it’s easier than ever to follow our favourite celebrities on social media. One young lady has become an overnight sensation as she shows what it is like to live with no arms. She was only three when an accident resulted in both her arms being amputated, but she has gone on to lead a full life. She now live streams how she has taught herself to do many things the rest of us take for granted. Another popular account belongs to HoneyCC, who is one of the biggest stars on the video-sharing platform, Meipai, which launched in 2014. Her passion for social media began after an injury cut short her dancing career. She found a single picture could only say so much, and to really communicate you need to use a video. The explosion of social media has not gone unnoticed by the fashion world, which found that Chinese stars have a big influence on what fashions people buy. Stars have often endorsed products, but the promotion of brands through social media can be a lot subtler.
In 2016 Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi had fallen from first to fifth place among China’s smartphone manufacturers. They turned this around in 2017, and are currently on target to become the worlds second largest smartphone vendor, behind only Samsung. China is a unique market because of its size. A company can become a global sales leader without selling outside our borders. The top five phone vendors in the country are becoming more dominant, creating a group that is making it very difficult for new businesses to enter the market. These companies work hard to constantly come up with new ideas and improve technology to suit the Chinese people, the latest one being smartphone ID cards. Such ingenuity means even some of the big boys have a very small percentage of phone sales in China, like Samsung, which has just over 2% of the market.
China has become a major player in digital technology, and there’s much more untapped growth potential. China’s e-commerce transactions are estimated to be more than those of France, Japan, Britain, and the USA combined. Our technological expertise is producing software to handle the pace of growth. This was shown at the 4th World Internet Conference, where products were on display that were innovative in the fields of information technology, cloud calculation, and artificial intelligence. Recognising the talent available in China for AI development, Google is opening an artificial intelligence research centre. The Google AI China Centre will have a small group of researchers and several hundred China based engineers, which will help to keep China at the forefront of tomorrow’s technology.
According to a report by KPMG, 77% of Chinese people say online shopping is their favourite pastime. Out of everyone surveyed, 67% of those who took part were born after 1985. People born after this year are considered by many to be digital natives, as they grew up during a period where technology was becoming far more common in everyday life. It should come as no surprise that with such a huge number of people using apps to shop online, China is now playing a leading role in their development. This trend has been recognised by several large retailers, including the Swedish fashion group H&M. They are about to open the companies only online sales channel in China, apart from its official website.