UMS Morning Brief monthly overview – December

​To give a general idea of what’s in the UMS’ bespoke China Daily Morning Brief, a daily email service focused on four industry categories – Education, Tourism, Food & Beverage, and Health & Skincare, I decided to write a summary of the Dec. insights our team published. The Morning Brief reports on the latest buzz on social media and what topics have been discussed most in China’s market. Providing a broad reference for four different industries: education, travel, food and beverage, and health and wellness, the publication enables brands to make proactive strategic decisions. Let’s take a look at some of the themes that were highlighted in December’s publications.


1. Education industry

In the past two years, due to some actions between countries, many people have become shaken about studying abroad. But attentive students may find that no matter how the external political environment changes, China has always supported domestic students to study abroad. The popularity of studying abroad has unfortunately reduced the value of diplomas from prestigious overseas schools, and “foreign diplomas” are losing their competitive advantage. A report from the New Zealand Ministry of Education stated that the enrolment rate for higher education in August this year was 10% higher than last year, and last year was 1.2% higher than in August 2019. According to data provided by Institute of International Education (IIE), the number of international students in universities in the UK, Canada, and Australia also continues to grow.


2. Travel industry

At the beginning of December, New variants of Covid-19 discovered in many countries in Africa caused high vigilance among all countries. On November 26, the World Health Organization issued a statement, naming this new variant of Covid-19 Omicron. The emergence of the Omnicron strain once again sounded the alarm for the world: the longer the inequality of vaccine distribution lasts, the greater the possibility that the virus will mutate more. In just four working days after the WHO listed the Omnicron variant as a “mutant strain of concern”, the world’s three largest cruise operators had their share prices plunge 18.75%, 17.96% and 21.38% respectively.

Australia reopened its borders to fully vaccinated visa holders, including international students and skilled migrants. However, the country’s recent Covid-19 epidemic situation is not optimistic. The Omicron strain currently seems to be less serious than the Delta strain, but Australian Prime Minister Morrison still urges Australians to get a booster shot as soon as possible if they meet the conditions. After nearly two years of prevention and control measures restricting public life, many people have entered the “covid-19 fatigue” stage, and even that have had better effects through closing cities and borders have begun to change their strategy.


3. Food and beverage industry

Since the beginning of 2021, Australian wine imports have plummeted, and its ranking as the most important source of imported wines has been snatched by French wines. The event, Dishes on the menu-Rhone Wine VIP Dinner, held in Chongqing Lakeview No. 3 Garden Restaurant, confirmed Chinese consumers’ preference for French wines. In fact, France has long been one of China’s largest wine suppliers.

Italian wines have also jumped from the fourth place in terms of sales to the source of imports to the third place, accounting for about 10% of imports. Alessandro Mugnano believes that the rise of Italian wine’s status in the Chinese market is mainly due to the high tariffs on Australian wine, which has greatly affected imports.

At present, the overall consumption of imported wine is still shrinking, and the way of group buying is suffering from the squeeze of liquor represented by sauce-flavoured wine. Even though France and Chile exports are growing, the overall trend is still declining. Since early 2021, prices of many wine categories have risen, especially concentrated in imported wine. This is because of the chain reaction of the epidemic and the increase in prices of packaging and raw materials.

Fonterra’s catering service brand “Anchor Food Professionals” released its first European imported cream-Anchor Multi-effect Cream. This is also the brand’s first time it has launched its global new product in China again after more than a month. Fonterra announced that in China, their adjusted profit before interest and taxes increased by 38% year-on-year to $339 million New Zealand dollars. This is the first time Fonterra has disclosed their performance in Asia.


4. Health & Wellbeing

At present, China’s pet food industry is in a stage of rapid development, and staple foods account for 75% of the pet food market. In terms of staple food, the pet staple food industry has upgraded brands and categories during its development. With the increasing number of employees in the scientific pet feeding field and the gradual increase in economic contribution, national policies will pay more attention to it and actively carry out compliance control.