unt for about 20 percent of the total, but they have quadrupled in the past two years.
“If you can prove to small-town youths that the products are useful, they are willing to pay,” Lan said. “Some inno
vative Saky products have also seen rapid growth in lower-tier markets, including one that removes stains from teeth.”
Chen, from Roland Berger, said that while small-town youths are narrowing the gap with their count
erparts in bigger cities in many ways, they still have many distinct demands. If companies want to win t
hem over, it is important for them to have a deep understanding of lower-tier markets and to draw up strategies acc
ordingly, whether in building brand awareness, or providing specialized products and distribution channels.
For example, while helping a jewelry company to access lower-tier markets, he found tha
t jade inlaid with gold is very popular, although it is considered unfashionable by consumers in large cities.
“Products that just scratch the surface, like simple tours of famous universities, have fallen out of favor with the market,” Zhang says.
Language training, NASA’s space camp, computer programming, homes
tays, wild animal care and desert and museum experiences are among the most popular options.
“Certain volunteering and public-welfare routes have seen a particularly fast increase in bookings,” Zhang says.
During the recent winter vacation in February, study-t
rip bookings surged by 80 percent compared with the same period of last year.
Domestic trips cost roughly 4,500 yuan ($663) per capita on ave
rage, while expenditures hit 21,000 yuan for outbound experiences, the agency reports.
Parents from Shanghai, Beijing and Guangdong province’s Guangz
hou and Shenzhen are the most willing to spend, according to Ctrip’s data.
A college admissions cheating scheme in the United States has triggered widespread discussio
n among Chinese netizens during the four-day May Day holiday after it was reported that a w
ealthy family paid $6.5 million to assure their daughter’s admission to Stanford University.
Billionaire Zhao Tao, 52, president and co-founder of Shandong Buchang Pharmaceuticals, a company that spec
ializes in traditional Chinese medicine to fight cardiovascular disease, reportedly funneled money to William Ric
k Singer, the admissions consultant who is at the center of the explosive case brought by US federal prosecutors.
The executive’s daughter, Zhao Yusi, also known as Molly Zhao, got a spot at Stanford University by presenting h
erself as a recruit for the school’s sailing team. The price was $6.5 million, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Zhao’s mother, identified as Mrs Zhao in a statement delivered through her attor
ney, said the family gave $6.5 million to Singer for the school’s scholarship fund and other purposes.