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Market Watch

Qing Dynasty Painting Finds Way onto McDonald’s Packaging in Tie-in with NPM

McDonald’s has taken the bold step of infusing an ancient painting into its Share Box meal in cooperation with the National Palace Museum to convey the spirit of its brand. The work by Qing Dynasty painter Yao Wen-han, “Joyous Celebration for the New Year,” illustrates a family happily gathered for the New Year, symbolizing the spirit of McDonald’s shared meals – family and friends getting together and enjoying crispy fried chicken along with plenty of good conversation and laughs.

Partial view of Yao Wen-han’s Joyous Celebration for the New Year

Source: National Palace Museum Open Data Section

Additional Bonus: Antique Game
People in ancient times loved playing drinking games to create a livelier atmosphere, much as people play board games today. Beyond the Share Box meal, this co-branding promotion comes with a specially designed game featuring different puzzles and historical themes, giving customers a chance to test their minds while enjoying a fried chicken Share Box.


Source: Business Next

In Search of Indulgence: ‘Sophisticated Consumption’

The COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing trade tensions between the United States and China have created a bewildering economic environment in which economic indicators seem to be out of sync with the pressure consumers feel in their daily lives. A weaker economy has meant less consumption, but the market remains full of contradictions, with empty store locations co-existing with shops overflowing with customers. 
Amid this confusion has emerged the trend of “sophisticated consumption” that transcends consumers’ regular routine of scrounging for reward points or searching for discounts or special offers to save a buck. Occasionally, they want to indulge and treat themselves to simple pleasures, within their means. So for products like Starbucks coffee, which can bring an intangible sense of prestige or sophistication, they are willing to spend a little more. Middle class consumers sometimes want to let go and live a little during their daily routines and are willing to pay premiums for self-satisfaction, while people of other economic classes display their own Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.


Source: Managertoday

Most Consumers Opting for Physical Stimulus Vouchers

A total of 11.59 million people pre-ordered their stimulus vouchers (NT$3,000 in vouchers for a NT$1,000 fee) by the deadline of July 12 at 4 p.m., according to Ministry of Economic Affairs figures. Of those, 10.02 million, or 86.4%, opted for physical vouchers, while 1.57 million chose digital versions. That so many people opted for the physical versions of the vouchers was not surprising because 80-90% of Taiwanese consumers typically pay cash for their purchases while 10-20% use credit cards, e-certificates or mobile payment apps. When the vouchers were being planned, the expectation was that people would choose the physical vouchers over digital vouchers by an 8-2 margin.

Photo/Stimulus vouchers webpage

Source: The News Lens

Line Redesign Defies Worries of Client ‘Exodus’; No. of Accounts Rises 18%

When LINE announced its LINE Official Account 2.0 plan that would charge customers based on usage instead of one fee for unlimited usage, many brands suspected it was a disguised price hike, and analysts suggested it would lead to an exodus of LINE business clients. A year later, LINE has defied the skeptics, with the total number of official LINE accounts up 18% to 1.59 million as of the end of June 2020. It plans two upgrades for the second half of 2020 – strengthening its Friend ID function and helping brands maintain relationships with “friends.”


“Official Account List +” helps brands segment friends based on their profiles as they interact and then follow up with targeted messages based on different segments’ characteristics and preferences. Businesses can even send customized welcome messages or graphic menus to individuals. “LINE Tag” uses tracking codes to identify targeted audiences from the LINE marketing ecosystem, giving LINE account holders “online to offline” remarketing opportunities.

In the past, LINE account advertisers could use display ads to reach their friends or users, but in the future official account holders will be able to use LINE Tag to specifically identify friends they want to reach and communicate with them through the official account.  

Source: Business Next

iPhone 12 on the Way! But Uncertainty Looms Over When It Will Arrive

Apple previously scheduled special events for Sept. 8 and Oct. 27 to unveil its new products. The new iPhone 12 was to be revealed at the September event, while the first version of Apple Glass and the first Apple Silicon Mac models could be announced at the October event. During the company’s Q3 earnings announcement on July 31, however, Apple confirmed the new iPhones will be available a few weeks later than expected, which could also push back the product unveiling event.



‘New Normals’ for Tourism, Exhibitions in Post-COVID-19 Era

People’s lifestyle habits have changed dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic to prevent the spread of the disease. Some of them may remain after the outbreak is under control as the “new normal.”

Leveraging the internet to create new local experiences
In Taiwan, the National Palace Museum has given users the chance to browse its collections online with a click of a mouse, while Taiwan’s professional baseball league live streamed its season opener between the CTBC Brothers and the Rakuten Monkeys. The broadcast attracted the interest of fans around the world and even overseas media.

‘Contactless’ trend creating new momentum
The pandemic has led to the emergence of more “contactless” opportunities. Consumers have spent more time at home, leading to a surge in the use of online services, digital learning and remote health care consultations and corresponding growth in digital marketing and digital analysis. At the same time, tech initiatives promoted by the government, such as mobile payments, digital transformation and internet startups, have gradually emerged as mainstream trends.

Photo/The News Lens


Ministry of Health of Welfare, Facebook Team Up on Blood Donation Feature

Facebook announced on July 24 that it is joining with the Ministry of Health and Welfare and the Taiwan Blood Services Foundation to roll out a “Blood Donations” feature to encourage the public to give blood and help maintain stable blood reserves. As Facebook’s first blood donation app in East Asia, the new initiative is expected to raise awareness among Taiwanese of the importance of giving blood and get them to register to give blood. Those registered will receive alerts from donation centers in their areas when reserves are low so they can donate blood in a timely way.



Tourism Industry Update

Tourism Outbound Departure Statistics, January-June 2020

Chart/ Tourism Bureau, Ministry of Transportation and Communications

1.  Taiwanese went abroad 2,163,676 times in the first half of 2020, down 74.88% from the same period of 2019. The drop-off was most evident in the second quarter as global COVID-19 restrictions kicked in, when Taiwan had only 47,028 outbound departures, down 99% from 4,449,848 in April-June 2019.

2.  The top destination for outbound travelers from January to June 2020 was Japan, followed by China, South Korea, Vietnam, Hong Kong and Thailand. Travel to all six destinations was down from a year earlier, falling by as much as 84.45% to Hong Kong.

Source: Tourism Bureau Monthly Statistics

DGBAS Latest Economic Indicators for June 2020

Chart/Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS)

1.     The latest preliminary estimate for Taiwan’s GDP growth in the first quarter was 1.59%, up 0.05 percentage points from the 1.54% growth estimated for Q1 in April.

2.     The DGBAS estimated Taiwan would grow 1.67% for all of 2020, down 0.70 percentage points from the 2.37% growth forecast in February. Its forecast for 2020 per capita GNI is US$27,131, and the Consumer Price Index is expected to fall 0.32%.


Charts: DGBAS

1.       Unemployment rate: The unemployment rate in June was 3.96%, down 0.11 percentage points from the previous month, and there were 473,000 unemployed.

2.       Average regular wages for workers in the industrial and service sectors: The average regular wage in May was NT$42,172, up 0.1%, or NT$43, from the previous month. For the first five months of 2020, the average regular wage was NT$42,257, up 1.47% from a year earlier.

Source: DGBAS Latest Indicators

Exclusive One-day Tour Offers New Way to Experience Taoyuan International Airport

Taoyuan International Airport is offering a one-day experience to satisfy people’s pent-up yearning for air travel amid COVID-19 border restrictions. Participants will be able to enjoy a special themed waiting area, enter the usually restricted apron area where airplanes park, enjoy the food of a VIP lounge, shop at duty free stores and take part in a lucky draw for round-trip tickets to North Asia and New Zealand/Australia. Those who do not sign up for the tour can still visit the airport during the summer and see the “Taoyuan Airport Future Vision x Lego Special Exhibit” on the 5th floor of the expanded area of the northern wing of Terminal 2.


Source: United Daily News

ANA to Resume Flights to Songshan Airport on Aug. 3

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s directive that priority should be given to negotiating the lifting of a travel ban on Taiwan by the end of July has brought a glimmer of hope to some Taiwan-Japan flight routes. ANA said its service between Songshan Airport in Taipei and Haneda Airport in Tokyo, which has been suspended for months because of COVID-19 restrictions, will resume on Aug. 3. Flight NH851 will depart from Haneda Airport at 10:05 on Mondays and Fridays, and Flight 852 will leave Songshan Airport at 1:30 p.m. the same days.


Source: Global News

China Airlines Adds Flights to New York in July, August Schedule

China Airlines has decided to resume service to New York, according to an updated flight schedule for July and August released on July 14. The airline will fly once a week from Taoyuan to New York starting July 26, with the first return flight departing New York on July 28. The schedule of one weekly round-trip flight will continue through August. Taiwan’s flagship carrier said previously it would adjust its flight schedule based on changing individual and business travel demand, the government’s COVID-19 prevention policy, and market needs.

Photo/China Airlines

Source: United Daily News

Cruises on the Way Back: Lion Travel, Dream Cruises Pitch ‘Island Hopping’ Cruises

Lion Travel and Dream Cruises are introducing new “island hopping” itineraries on the “Explorer Dream” that will depart from Keelung and visit the Taiwan-held islands of Kinmen, Penghu and Matsu. Likely the first cruises in the world following the industry’s shutdown during the global coronavirus pandemic, they highlight Taiwan’s reputation as an epidemic prevention and tourism powerhouse.
Restrictions on international travel have led to a surge in domestic travel, especially to the three island chains, resulting in increases in flights to the islands to meet demand and tight accommodation. These cruises will eliminate those air ticket and hotel booking hassles.

Photo/Dream Cruises

Source: Business Next

Taiwanese Travelers Third Most Ready in Asia to Go on a Trip

Taiwanese (59%) are the third most eager of any nationality in Asia to travel, trailing behind only Vietnamese (87%) and Indonesians (78%), according to Agoda’s recently GoLocal survey. The six most preferred domestic destinations in the coming year among Taiwanese are Hualien, Kending, Taipei, Tainan, Taichung and Yilan. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed how people throughout the region see travel, with 65% of respondents wanting to take domestic trips in the next 12 months, and only 35% wanting to travel internationally, the survey found. Agoda also noted three Taiwan travel trends: Taiwanese are most comfortable traveling a maximum of three to four hours, they are most excited to travel for some peace and quiet, and four and five-star hotels top the list of accommodation options.


Source: Economic Daily News

Airbnb CEO Looks at Post-epidemic Era: ‘Travel Has Changed Forever’

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky believes international travel will “never, ever go back to the way it was pre-COVID” and that local travel to smaller communities will gain increasing popularity. As for Airbnb, its convention business has disappeared as people realize “they don’t need to get on an airplane to have a meeting,” he said. Some travel experts are suggesting that overseas travel could become an activity for the wealthy because in these uncertain times safety is paramount, and privacy will become the new luxury as people want their own freedom and space to stay safe. A Goldman Sachs analyst has forecast that airline traffic will not recover to 2019 levels until 2023, and that international travel, especially corporate travel overseas, will take longer than expected to recover.


Source: TechNews

Taipei Named Best Leisure Destination in Asia

Taiwan has earned several honors in U.S. travel magazine Global Traveler’s 2020 Leisure Lifestyle Awards. Taiwan finished second in the best international adventure destination category, Taipei was named the best leisure destination in Asia for the third straight year, and Taoyuan International Airport was ranked fourth for best airport for layovers. In the post-COVID-19 era, extended stay, in-depth tours of 10 people or less will go mainstream, and the new environment has given Taiwan’s tourism sector an opportunity to adjust. The country’s strong response to COVID-19 should make it attractive to travelers focused on safety and health.


Source: Central News Agency

Guam to Allow Taiwanese Visitors in without Requiring Quarantine

Guam Governor Lou Leon Guerrero announced that travelers from countries at low-risk of COVID-19, including Taiwan, will be allowed stays of up to four nights in Guam without being quarantined, starting July 24. Those who do not have a fever when they arrive in Guam will be exempt from the standard 14-day isolation period in a hotel or at home. The listing of Taiwan as a low-risk area again reflected the country’s success in combating the disease.


Source: Newtalk

Taiwan on First List of Countries that Can Travel to Jordan

Jordan’s government has released a list of “green countries” from which people will be allowed to travel to the country for tourism, and said it is aiming to reopen its borders on Aug. 4, 2020. In its release of the list on July 21 that included Taiwan, China, Malaysia and Thailand, Jordan said it made the move because the outbreak has eased in that country. Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the announcement and said the move reaffirmed Taiwan’s epidemic prevention success and would strengthen bilateral ties.


Source: Central News Agency

Japan Expands Easing of Entry Restrictions, Measure includes Taiwan

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said Japan is set to start negotiations with several countries, including Taiwan, China and South Korea, on lifting travel restrictions with those destinations. Japan has already started discussions with Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand to ease border controls. In the program’s initial phase, travel will be opened to business travelers only, and travelers must take PCR tests for COVID-19 before arriving in and leaving Japan. Flights with Japanese business travelers began flying to Vietnam in late June.


Source: United Daily News

Media News

Why Podcasts Are Exploding in Taiwan: Six Trends and the Opportunities They Present

Podcasts suddenly took Taiwan by storm in the first half of 2020, an indication that the “voice economy” is quickly making its mark on the local market. What podcast trends will we see the rest of this year?

Trend 1: Quality Content Driving the Voice Economy
Podcast audiences are generally college graduates, professionals, or entrepreneurs. Aside from providing entertainment or keeping people company, another key role for podcasts is as a vehicle for learning, often in people’s spare time or when they exercise or commute to work. Consequently, high-quality content is more likely to attract podcast listeners.

Trend 2: New Types of Podcasts Popping Up
Different types of podcasts are being attempted, and new niche fields are ideal as themes for podcasts. Over the past year, for example, podcasts on nature, the environment, climate change, vegetarian diets and zero-waste lifestyles have been trending.

Trend 3: Data Driving the Listening Experience and Marketing
Data-driven marketing enables podcast creators to get complete data on listeners of each episode, giving them a deep understanding of listener profiles and content preferences. The data can show, for example, whether listeners like the content presented and when and where they enjoying listening to what content.

Trend 4: Podcasts Need to Do Search Engine Optimization
In 2019, Google incorporated podcasts into its search results so that internet users could directly listen to a podcast on the search result page. As a result, Voice SEO is a new dynamic podcast creators and brand marketers will have to think about in the future.

Trend 5: Ad Impact Greater than Imagined
Millennials and Gen Z have little tolerance for annoying or disruptive online ads, but seem to be more receptive to podcast ads, which tend to be positive messages read by the host. Longtime listeners of a podcast have a high degree of trust in the host or podcast creator and therefore are more accepting of the ad as being part of the podcast experience and see the ad as a recommendation by the host.

Trend 6: Brands Can Market through Podcast Content
The content marketing strategies of companies with brands are beginning to look at the potential of podcasts. Content marketing in the past inevitably led to lower-quality content, but podcasts present a way to stress high-quality content.

Source: Future Commerce

Three Opportunities for Brands to Prosper from Post-COVID Demand

Opportunity 1: Taiwanese Crazy for News! Videos Extremely Popular
Nielsen Ratings has found that the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a surge in TV ratings across the board, hitting their highest level in Taiwan for the same period in the past five years. Viewer eyeballs have been particularly focused on news channels.

Opportunity 2: Taiwanese Crazy for Entertainment! Going Out, Having Fun Back in Vogue
As fears over COVID-19 have eased in Taiwan, the idea of going out and having fun and engaging in leisure activities has re-emerged as a hot topic for consumers. An iSurvey poll found that “travel,” “restaurants,” “night markets,” “movie theaters,” “department stores,” and “amusement parks” had vaulted to the top of leading consumer keywords, signaling what consumers are now looking for.

Opportunity 3: Taiwanese Crazy for Offline Shopping! Physical Stores Packed
As the COVID-19 scare in Taiwan eased in May, people grew eager to get out of the house and consumers started flocking back to brick-and-mortar retailers. In a Consumer Behavior Report, iSurvey said there was evidence of people heading back to large-scale retailers, and that stores focused on daily commodities were recovering the quickest, followed by department stores and restaurants.

Source: Carat Media Weekly Newsletter

Facebook Maintains Big Lead as World’s Most-used Social Platform

As of the end of April, Facebook had nearly 2.5 billion monthly active users, the most of any social platform in the world, according to the latest figures from DataReportal Global Digital Statshot. That was 25% more users than second-ranked YouTube. Finishing third and fourth were WhatsApp and FB Messenger, which Facebook acquired for hefty sums in 2014 and 2012, respectively. Those two platforms have become major pillars of support for Facebook.

Chart/Text: Business Digest

Source: Business Digest Editorial

New Functions for LINE Groups: Inviting Friends with a Click and Improving Notifications

  • When a new member joins a group, the administrator/co-admin are notified.
Photo/LINE official website
  • When members are ‘forced out’ of a group, names of ‘executor,’ person removed are shown
    In the past, if a member was removed from a chat group, the person would simply disappear without any record of the administrator or co-administrator who kicked the person from the group. It would not be displayed in the system. With the new changes, when an administrator or co-administrator removes a member from a group, all members can see a record of this in the chat room.
Photo/LINE official website
  • Upgrade of interface for sending a LINE group invitation
    Previously a user needed to click on “Settings” to find the icon to invite a friend to a group but now the icon has been added to top of the group’s chat room. The new function offers several other new ways to invite friends in this spot, including by copying links and sharing QR codes, allowing people to invite more friends to a group more quickly.
Photo/LINE official website

Source: LINE Official Website

FB Messenger Rolls Out 16-person Screen Sharing Feature; Could Be Expanded to 50 Soon

Facebook’s Messenger App recently added a screen sharing feature that will enable users to create a video chat room with their friends and family by sharing their screen in real time with eight to 16 people simultaneously. Facebook said it introduced the new feature mainly because it knew people have wanted to make more of an effort to maintain relationships, and this screen sharing function will allow people to stay in closer touch with each other. In the future, it may be upgraded to allow 50 people to share screens at the same time, ideal for particularly big families or gatherings of large groups of friends and bound to provide an even better user experience.


Source: CNews

Case Study

Bixbee Backpacks: Elementary School Student Promotional Campaign

Beyond its focus on the travel sector, CheeseAd is now serving commercial customers!

In the grade school student backpack market, vertical backpacks that offer spine protection are the mainstream products. But because aluminum inserts are added to spine-protecting bags to stiffen them, invisibly increasing the weight of the product, young students are forced to lean forward, causing spinal issues. San Francisco-based Bixbee addresses those concerns with its line of “horizontal backpacks” that cater to mothers worried about the weight of their children’s schoolbags.

Bixbee backpacks feature an exclusive patented horizontal design, and to strengthen the company’s appeal to mothers, it identified five advantages its products have over vertical bags and point out the flaws of vertical bags when used by elementary school students. Please check out this website:

The main themes and appeals of the ad campaign were divided into two phases

Phase I: The goal was to strengthen Bixbee’s brand image and show how its horizontal backpack designs allow young children to move around effortlessly and let their imagination and mobility run wild. At the same time, the two different ad presentations shown below were used as the ad placements to maximize their impact.

Phase II: Highlighted the problems associated with elementary school students using backpacks in the ads to draw the attention of the main targets of the campaign (mothers).



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