Mini Karaoke box to face homogenization before winning market

By Li Yezi
2017-02-17 22:17:21
Recently, more Karaoke booths have shown up in shopping malls and business districts in Beijing. This low-cost entertainment facility entered the Chinese market in 2015. But vagueness over song collection copyrights and patent issues left huge challenges before winning the market.

CFP Photo

The booths are around two cubic meters in diameter, with a pair of karaoke machines installed to hold two people inside. Karaoke goers not only can sing for their own delight, but also share the recorded song to others via WeChat. The voice is completely contained in the transparent booth, allowing some privacy. 
As convenient and innovative as it is, its shortcomings are quite obvious as well. A Karaoke booth charges by time, for example, such as the Mbar Karaoke booth, which charges visitors 30 yuan every 15 minutes. “Four songs at the most,” Wang, a customer, complained. “You can’t waste even one second and it is quite intense.” Meanwhile, one can only order a song through the network of their phone, which can be quite slow and time consuming if the Karaoke booths are installed in crowded or remote sites. A traditional KTV or Karaoke booth, on the other hand, rents out a room on an hourly basis, and therefore provides the same services of a Karaoke booth at a better price.

CFP Photo

The average price for a pair of Karaoke booths is around 57,600 yuan (over 8,300 US dollars), which is comparatively low to a traditional Karaoke facility that takes up to millions of RMB to decorate, rent out, and maintain. 



CFP Photo

Shocked by the various apps and large facilities that make singing karoke more approachable and affordable, traditional Karaoke booths have been seen as lacking. Many KTV groups that owned the market during the last two decades have now started shrinking, unable to keep up with the needs of Karaoke enthusiasts.



CFP Photo


CFP Photo


But whether Karaoke booths have the potential to take over the market is yet to be determined. Voices from the industry suggest that patent right issues and song copyright concerns have left a question mark hanging over this invention. 


CFP Photo


Besides, there are already similar facilities under different brands that are cutting market share. It is quite doubtful if it can survive homogenization before replacing traditional Karaoke.


CFP Photo


CFP Photo


MiniK, a brand launched by Guangzhou-based Aimyunion Technology, has claimed over 30 patents on its mini Karaoke booth, including five patents for utility models, 16 appearance patents, and six software copyrights and patent for invention. But their spokesperson has not given any reply on how to distinguish their product from others in the market. Homogenization left mini Karaoke box defenseless against either replicas or price war. When advantages becomes disadvantages, some believe that mini Karaoke booths will finally lose to its too-easy access.


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Almost 23 percent Chinese people consider themselves "life's winners", says study

By Wang Wei
2017-02-16 21:07:47 7km to Beijing
In recent decades, "winners in life" has become a regular term in the vocabulary of ordinary Chinese citizens, especially in urban areas. Recent research has found that nearly 23 percent respondents would use the term to describe themselves. 
After examining over 2,000 completed questionnaires from cities across China, the survey, conducted by the China Youth Daily in Beijing, shows that 49.9 percent people believe that life's winners are quite common among their acquaintances, and that 22.8 percent consider themselves winners in life. 
The top three criteria to determine if you are a "winner" are career success, contentment in marriage, and happiness in family life. It is notable that the criteria are greatly diversified in contrast with what it was a decade ago. 

Top three criteria for life's winners in China

He Bingqing, a postgraduate student in Beijing, admitted that, for many of her friends, success in life entails enormous wealth and extraordinary intelligence, but she holds different standards. "But for me, completing my master's degree and securing a well-paid job is more than enough to qualify me as a winner."
Lin Tieqiang, a retired worker in the city of Dalian, also has his distinctive definition of success, which involves no more than regular dinners with his old pals and occasional sight-seeing trips with his wife. 
Zhang Baoyi, a sociologist in Tianjin, says that the definition of what it means to be a "winner" has undergone a transformation for the past decade or so, as more and more are dropping absolute standards, like fame and fortune, to embrace a life of their own.

Runway facemasks: Anti-smog devices turn into fashion accessory in China

By Xie Zhenqi
2017-02-16 21:34:31
By CGTN’s Martina Fuchs
Anti-pollution masks are increasingly turning into fashion objects and hitting the catwalks in China and around the globe. Designer Wang Zhijun recently produced a face mask made from an Adidas sneaker designed by Kanye West.

Artist Wang Zhijun produces funky anti-smog masks from sneakers. / CGTN Photo

Wang put the mask up for sale on eBay China in October, drawing a bid of more than $5,000. He has since made around 20 unique smog masks out of expensive sport shoes, such as Nike, Adidas, and New Balance.

Wang Zhijun's latest collection of masks on display at an art space in Beijing / CGTN Photo

International designers, such as Vogmask in California or Swedish company Airinum, have also spotted the opportunity, producing both functional and fashionable masks.

Sweden's Airinum eyes the massive Chinese market to sell its Scandinavian designs. / CGTN Photo

The face mask industry is not the only sector benefiting from the smog. With the frequent so-called "airpocalypse" in Northeastern China, the rapidly growing middle class, urbanization, and increasing consumer spending on lifestyle products, more and more people in China are shopping for air purifiers. 

Blueair air purifiers exhibited at a press conference in Beijing in February, 2017. / CGTN Photo

Industry research shows that the air purifiers market in China is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of around 18% from 2016-2021.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 92% of the world’s population lives in areas where air pollution exceeds safety limits. Parts of Africa, Eastern Europe, India, China, and the Middle East remain the biggest regional danger spots.

Investigation into Hangzhou hospital HIV scandal launched

By Cao Xiating
2017-02-13 23:11 GMT+8 1128km to Beijing
China's health authorities have launched a wide-ranging investigation into a Hangzhou hospital HIV scandal, after the country was shocked by a recent report about malpractice by a hospital worker resulting in five people contracting the deadly virus.
The National Health and Family Planning Commission and the State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine have dispatched a joint task force to Zhejiang Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine to look into the incident, according to a statement issued on the NHFPC official website on Monday night. And the authorities will send out another task force soon to supervise a subsequent investigation and look into the handling of the serious medical incident.

Zhejiang Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine. /CFP Photo

Li Bin, director of the NHFPC, has urged all out efforts to treat the infected patients and the adoption of emergency prevention measures, according to the statement. She also demanded harsh punishments according to the law for those responsible .
A medical staffer at Zhejiang Provincial Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine violated procedure by reusing hypodermic needles on patients, infecting five people with HIV as a result, according to a statement issued by the Zhejiang Health and Family Planning Commission last Thursday.

Screenshot of the Zhejiang Health and Family Planning Commission announcement.

Five officials at the hospital have been sacked, including its president and executive vice-president, the statement added.


30 mln Chinese men won't be able to find wives in the next 30 years

By Wang Lei
2017-02-13 23:30 GMT+8
In the next decade, the number of men entering the marriage age in China each year will be a million more than women on average. In the next three decades, 30 million eligible Chinese men will not be able to find spouses, China’s People's Daily Overseas Edition reported.
Experts say China is facing serious gender imbalance.

A blind date event in Dongguan, Guangdong province in south China on February 8, 2017. /CFP Photo

Many parents are worried about their sons’ marriage, even more so during holiday seasons when families gather and conversations turn candid. Zhang Jinchun, a villager in Weinan, Shaanxi province, visited his son’s future parents-in-law on Sunday, one day after the Lantern Festival and two days before Valentine's Day. He brought 100,000 yuan (about 15,000 US dollars) and a variety of presents, trying to seal the deal.
“My son is getting 25 this year. I must finalize his engagement with the daughter of Mr. Li, who lives in the north of the county,” Zhang said. “In my village, there are quite a few single guys in their 30s.”
Zhang's anxiety is shared by many Chinese parents, whose sons struggle to find life partners.

A blind date event for migrant workers returning home in Wannian county, Jiangxi province in south China on January 26, 2017. /CFP Photo

“According to conservative estimations, there will be approximately 30 million men who cannot find wives in the next 30 years in China,” said Zhai Zhenwu, director of the Population Development Studies Center of Renmin University of China and president of China Population Association.
The growing disparity between men and women is the result of China’s imbalanced sex ratio at birth since mid-1980s, which was highlighted in the National Population Development Plan (2016 - 2030) released by the State Council last month.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, by the end of 2015, there were 704.14 million males and 670.48 million females in mainland China. Males outnumbered females by 33.66 million and the male-female ratio was 105.02 to 100, while the birth ratio was 113.51 to 100.
Separate statistics show that among unmarried people born between 1980 and 1989, the male-female ratio was 136 to 100. The gap is even deeper among those born in the 1970s, with the ratio being 206 to 100, the report said.
The standard birth ratio set by the United Nations is 103-107 to 100.
China’s highly imbalanced birth ratio may lead to a crisis of “leftover men,” said Zhai.


A blind date event for migrant workers returning home in Wannian county, Jiangxi province in south China on January 26, 2017. /CFP Photo

In 2016, China officially abolished its decades-long one-child policy. The move could help gradually lower the birth ratio in a country with a history of entrenched preference for males, noted Wang Guangzhou, a researcher at the Institute of Population and Labor Economics of Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
Other demographers believe that the fundamental solution to China’s gender imbalance requires further relaxation of childbearing policy and profound improvements in women’s social status, according to the report.


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