Ep. 49: China’s Gen-Z and its newest poison: sneakers - SupChina

Ep. 49: China’s Gen-Z and its newest poison: sneakers

In episode 49 of TechBuzz China, co-hosts Ying-Ying Lu and Rui Ma continue their exploration of the converging trends between the U.S. and China’s ecommerce sectors, this week covering the topic of the resale market for sneakers and streetwear. Notably, entrepreneurs in the U.S. and in China, such as the founders of smash-hit sneaker site Pozion, seem to have discovered this space at roughly the same time. Perhaps, our co-hosts muse, due to the tech-savvy nature of the Gen-Z demographic, differences across the two countries are far less than we think. Globally, this and other ecommerce platforms thus far have catered only to women; Poizon and other brands are showing the way to a category in which men are the primary consumers.

Rui and Ying-Ying begin by explaining the impetus for this episode: the fact that two unicorns of roughly the same valuation, the same business (selling sneakers and other streetwear to urban youth), and the same lead investor (DST) were born in this space this year. One was the aforementioned Poizon, which is based in Shanghai and was spun off from Hupu, China’s leading sports news and community website. The other sneaker unicorn, called StockX, was birthed in Detroit in June.

Listen to find out: What are some of the factors behind this “coincidence”? What is behind the growth of China’s athletic footwear market? How do most streetwear brands market and distribute their products today, and how does this lead to some items selling at a (at times massive) premium? How are these market trends tied to the rise of the NBA and the CBA in China? How do Poizon’s founders enter and drive the story, and in what ways is the company linked to entities such as Bytedance and China’s Most Eligible Bachelor? What is interesting about the stories of other global sneaker-sellers such as Stadium Goods, which expanded almost immediately into China and only later into Europe? What are the challenges that these sites face, including but not limited to a fake rate of at least 1 percent?

As always, you can find these stories and more at pandaily.com. If you enjoy our content, please do let us know by leaving us an iTunes review, liking our Facebook page, and tweeting at us at @techbuzzchina! Thank you also to our listeners over at our partner, dealstreetasia.com.

We are grateful for our supportive and talented producers, Shaw Wan and Kaiser Kuo, and for our intern, Wang Menglu. Thank you!

Listeners who are interested in visiting China should check out Pandaily’s one-week immersion into China’s tech scene, taking place on October 13-19, 2019. Applications will be available soon on pandaily.com. This trip is not to be confused with TechBuzz China’s inaugural invite-only China Investor Trip for public market investors, taking place on October 7–13.

Additionally, Bay Area listeners may come out to join TechBuzz co-host Rui Ma, in dialogue with Matt Sheehan at the launch of his new book, The Transpacific Experiment: How China and California Collaborate and Compete for Our Future. The event will take place on the evening of Tuesday, August 13, at the Asia Society, and you should definitely pre-order Matt’s book on Amazon.

Rui Ma and Ying-Ying Lu

Rui Ma and Ying-Ying Lu are both entrepreneurs and China-watchers who lived and worked in the technology space in China for many years. Rui Ma is also an angel investor. Together they host the TechBuzz China podcast by Pandaily, a tech media startup reporting on everything about China's innovation.

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