From the infamous shared-bike companies, to tech innovations for the environment, 2017 was the year of the social entrepreneur in China. What’s in store for 2018? Check out four of my predictions impacting China’s social space this upcoming year.
#1 - Supply Chain Chaos
Throughout 2017, the Chinese Government closed nearly 40% of the country’s factories in an effort to enforce stronger environmental regulations. These inspections, and closures, will continue this year as the net tightens.
Global supply chains have weathered the storm fairly well thus far because most closures involved mom-and-pop operations. During the 2018 round of inspections, however, expect to see more of a focus on suppliers to large multinational players. Closures in this space will send shockwaves impacting logistics, supply, and price around the world.
#2 - Minority Rights
In 2018, China is also likely to focus more on the plights of its minority populations. This doesn’t just include some of the 50-plus ethnic minority tribes throughout the country. Expect to see a greater push for inclusivity for migrant workers, left-behind children and children of the lower classes, as well as blue-collar workers in China’s light- and heavy-manufacturing sectors.
#3 - Bubble Bursts on Sharing Economy
After a wave of enthusiasm last year, expect to see the long, slow death of China’s sharing economy. Market forces have already swallowed most flash-in-the-pan ideas (I’m looking at you, shared basketballs), but one giant still remains: shared bikes. Even this is now dominated by only two major players, where once there were upwards of 40 bike-sharing companies in Shanghai alone. In 2018, we’re likely to see these leaders, Mobike and Ofo, either merge or greatly streamline their footprint on the mainland.
#4 - Health and Fitness Gain Traction
China has received the unfortunate title of world’s fattest country. Obesity rates, particularly among children, are alarming. As nearly 800 million Chinese enter the middle class over the next decade, expect this number to rise.
On the flip side, however, there is an increasing awareness and embrace of healthy living. Independent gyms are popping up all over major cities, there are more and more people jogging on the streets, and fitness trackers continue to be all the rage.
Throughout the upcoming year, expect buffer bodies to start gracing Chinese cities as people truly live lifestyles of health and sustainability.