- I read on your website that some e-cigarette brands have made a lot of effort to advertise their products to young people. For example, RELX set up sales promoters on college campuses and Yooz hired influencers. I also saw some brands are using sexy models to promote e-cigarettes.
Has there been criticism about advertising to young people in China?
Jesse Jin, a reporter from VAPE HK: There hasn’t been much criticism to it at the moment in China. On the one hand, e-cigarette in China is not as popular as in the USA. For example the vaping rate of e-cig in China is only 1% while the USA is 13% ; and on the other hand, e-cigarette is more expensive in China compared to the USA, students cannot afford that. The most popular cigarettes in China is only 10 yuan to 20 yuan per pack while the e-cig starter kits are usually sold at 299 yuan. If minor’d like to smoke, they should choose to start from a cheaper cigarettes instead.
China government also forbids selling e-cigs to young. Some vape brand like RELX had tried to open up the door of campus, then someone reported it to the official so they stopped that immediately in case of a punishment from the state. What’s more, they even started a Angel Guardian plan to cover their sin evading the moral condemn from the public.
- Several tech entrepreneurs have jumped on the e-cigarette trend. Former founder of Qihu 360 Investment Department and Smartisan’s Luo Yonghao have supported investment into e-cigarettes.
It’s easy to see how they could be inspired by the success of Juul but is there other reasons why e-cigarettes have suddenly become such a popular field?
Jesse Jin, a reporter from VAPE HK:
- The invention of nicotine salt technology. This technology allows e-liquids vaporized at a low temperature will delivering the maximum nicotine content to lung. It makes vaping with starter kit like JUUL easier and much more convenient while satisfying the needs for nicotine efficiently and pleasantly. Before the invention, vapers have to use a large box mod with rather complex and hard-to-operate designs to vaporized the old e-liquids. What’s more, the old e-liquids without nicotine salt even tastes not better than the starter kit today.
- It’s addictive accompanying high repurchase rate. Once the customer purchased the first cartridge or pod (a small e-liquid tank), you have to repurchase it again and again. The enterprise’s profits will be endless and huge then.
- The mature supply chain in Shenzhen. In fact, JUUL is also produced in Shenzhen, China, and there are thousands of such vape factories manufacturing this gadget for over 10 years with minimum cost like 30 yuan per kit. Those factories are completely capable producing enough vapes for domestic market. What’s more, JUUL’s user experience is not better than most pod systems in China according to our actual trial and comparison, while it still sells well in the USA. Image the better vapes in China.
- The vast market that has been tapped so far. Everyone knows that China has the largest smoking group in the world, roughly 2 billion. The switch of 1% of smokers is still a gigantic figure.
- The blank of regulation. There hasn’t been any laws stopping the grow the vapes so far, which allows the free grow of this industry.
- US brand Juul is in a lot of trouble now because of concerns about vaping on health. Do you think this will influence Chinese brands too?
Jesse Jin, a reporter from VAPE HK: Chinese brands will mainly be influenced by the state policy and regulations. After seeing the situation in USA, China government’s direct media People’s Daily has showed their attitude to e-cigs that they will strength the regulation of e-cigs. The regulation on e-cigs is scheduled and supposed to be carried out in October, 2019. Chinese brands will face a shuffle after the enact of the regulations. Some brands may grow bigger while some will die.
- US brands like Juul have said that e-cigarettes are a good alternative for people who are already smokers. They say that their “mission to improve the lives of the world’s one billion adult smokers by eliminating cigarettes.”
What about Chinese domestic e-cigarette manufacturers? Do you think they make it clear that their product is for existing smokers and a way to quit smoking?
Jesse Jin, a reporter from VAPE HK: Because of the excessive competition in China vape industry – over 1000 brands there, most brands are under huge sales pressure from both capital and internal staff expenses, so they are on the same way that JUUL went on at the early stage – promoting products to both smokers and young. Music festivals, bars and online shops are all selling it with trendy, fashionable, sexy and energetic posters and video ads attracting the eye balls from teenagers. As far as VAPE HK concerned, those ads are successful, but teenagers doesn’t have much money to buy, which haven’t caused a sensation yet.
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