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great-wall-of-chocolate-shanghaiThe Hornet Australia team talk to our colleagues in China every day.  Plus we keep an eye out online for interesting news from China.  Every so often, we come across quirky stories showing a human side to China.  Some may give food for thought about a business opportunity.  Others are just entertaining.

Today we’d like to share a selection with you.

Chocolate in China

Chocolate sales in China have grown 58% in the four years to 2013, compared to only 4% in the US.  The total China market for chocolate is around US$2.43 billion.  It sounds huge, but is still less than 10% of the US market.  So there’s scope for growth.

That’s why Mars opened a 1600 square metre ‘M&M’s department store’ in Shanghai last month.  Nor are they just selling chocolates.  Branded phone covers, backpacks and t-shirts are adding to profits too.

We’d love to see the M&M costumed characters and the ‘Great Wall of Chocolate’ too.

News from China – bright yellow 1-tonne rubber duck goes missing!

While the team at Hornet have been concentrating on Alphie the inflatable turtle, another giant artwork has been having troubles of its own.  Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman’s giant Rubber Duck, which has been touring the world since 2007, has been swept away from its moorings in Guiyang.

‘The most awesome safety sign in history’

That’s what China’s netizens said about the sign posted at a Shenzhen construction site.  It points out the dire consequences of accidents to workers.  But it doesn’t focus on death, even though construction accidents in China killed over 40 workers in March alone.  Instead workers are asked to imagine how ‘other men will sleep with your wife, beat your kids and splurge on all your compensation money’.

Let’s hope this brutally honest approach helps reduce the death toll.  Also that the ‘corrupt official’ version quoted in the article improves ethics in the public sector!

Manufacturing for the Nostalgia Niche

Want to buy a Pan-Am cabin bag?  An old-style record turntable?  If enough people search for something on eBay, chances are a Chinese manufacturer will start making it.

President of eBay Marketplaces Devin Wenig says that the online giant shares information about searches on the site with manufacturers and they ‘respond and turn it around really quickly.’  That’s a use of big data we hadn’t thought of!

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We hope you’ve enjoyed this roundup of weird and wonderful news from China.  In our next blog, we’ll be back to strictly business!

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