Disney knows where the money is. In China last year, Shanghai Disney Resort began construction, while Disneyland Paris continues to drown in €1.7 billion of debt (all eyes are on Saudi Prince Alwaleed for a mega bailout). News of China’s economic rise was matched only by the growing list of ridiculous things it banned. 2014 was the year President Xi Jinping outlawed Windows 8, puns and funny looking architecture.
The Alibaba IPO was the biggest in history, involving spectacular amounts of money for an e-commerce company that until this year, few Westerners had heard of. Alibaba threw the spotlight onto the voracious appetite of China’s consumers, selling over $1.8 billion worth of goods in a single hour of shopping during the shamelessly-invented ‘Singles’ Day’ sales. According to Quartz, Chinese consumers will spend more online than the rest of the world combined by 2018.
Xiaomi was the most sold brand on ‘Singles’ Day’, a young company that has grown to the third biggest smartphone maker in the world behind Samsung and Apple. The company is known for inexpensive devices that have more than a passing resemblance to Apple handsets; even Xiaomi’s keynote presentations have a distinct ‘Jobs’ flavour. Xiaomi’s explosive trajectory is set to continue, although aggressive global expansion has been tempered by patent disputes in India.