Digitalization in China
Even before the corona crisis hit China at the beginning of the year and massively restricted the everyday life of the world's most populated country, China was already a big step ahead of Germany in terms of digitalization.
One simple example is mobile phone coverage: while you usually lose your network connection entering a subway station in Germany, you won't experience any reception problems in China—even while riding 1,300 km from Beijing to Shanghai on the bullet train, you can rely on always having online access.
Once more, 740 million Chinese are online in social networks in 2020. The most successful app, WeChat, even has over a billion active users globally every month, and the Chinese software company ByteDance is setting new standards in social media around the world with TikTok.
China also has a digital lead in areas of everyday life that still take place almost entirely offline in Germany. According to a PWC study from 2019, 68% of Chinese consumers buy products online at least once a week. According to forsa, the German share is around 14%. In China, products from absolutely every category are ordered online—from care products to vegetables. This has been part of Chinese everyday life for several years.
Everyone is streaming live
While China has been battling its way through the corona crisis in recent weeks, further shifts towards e-commerce have taken place. Where before only well-known influencers set up live streams to promote the products of major brands, now everyone is streaming live. Farmers advertise their harvest from home and thereby prevent food from being wasted, real estate agents guide virtually through apartments and car dealers present all features of their sales models in the live stream. The Chinese cosmetics brand Forest Cabin even trained 1,600 vendors in doing live streams, thus enabling them to make products accessible to consumers and attract new customers, despite the crisis.