Vape Trails (Paywalled)

China’s once-hyped e-cigarette industry is running on fumes

The exhibition halls of the Beijing Vape Expo were quiet in December 2019. “Exhibitors even outnumbered the day’s visitors,” joked Blue Hole, a business news website.

The sparse corridors and vacant stands were largely the result of new regulations, announced jointly by eight Chinese government agencies on November 1, 2019, prohibiting the sale and advertisement of electronic cigarettes online. Products have been removed from online stores en masse.

“We were caught by surprise,” laments an executive of the China office of one the biggest electronic cigarette companies in the world, who did not wish to be identified. Until the new regulations, his company had dreams of capturing a significant part of the market. “Now, we’re nowhere in China, only on the black market.”

Vape Trails (Paywalled) is a story from our issue, “Alpine Ambitions.” To read the entire issue, become a subscriber and receive the full magazine. Alternatively, you can purchase the digital version from the App Store.



Sam Davies is the deputy managing editor at The World of Chinese. He writes mainly about society, sport, and culture, with his pieces touching on diverse topics from the future of China’s ski industry to efforts to prevent juvenile crime.

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