How to emerge cultures in the China market

Knowing your target market is vital to succeeding in any country or culture. The only difference when marketing in China is that you will need a little more context. Understanding the culture is important when it comes to engaging with the China market. As well as the principles of Guanxi (Relationships) and Mianzi (Face) that we’ve mentioned before, you need to keep abreast of cultural changes.

So, where is Chinese culture moving, and how does this benefit or hinder your business?

The rise of middle class materialism

A swiftly growing economy is creating a much larger distribution of wealth amongst the Chinese people. The middle class has grown significantly since its emergence two decades ago, growing from 4% to over 60% in just over a decade (Source: This newly emerging class is very important from an economic point of view, as they are defined by having a large disposable income.

This extra spending money has meant that the middle classes in China now aspire to, and can attain, items and activities that were previously only accessible for the richest in society. Holidays, luxury goods, and education, are all accessible to the middle class. With their higher income, they aspire to the same values as Westerners (Source:; they want to own property, have nice things, and go places.

Developing counter culture

China has its equivalent of Hipster culture. This group of young people go against the materialistic values of the middle classes (despite still belonging to it). They value knowledge and attitude over possessions. They consume culture; art, photography, novels and indie music. Travel and interesting products are likely to appeal to these wenyi qingnian -‘cultured youths’ (Source: .

Social media culture

Losing face (Mianzi), is still very much important to Chinese consumers. Balancing their Collectivist cultural values with their own personal wants and desires can be a struggle. Therefore it is important to remember that as a brand you need to address this issue. Social media culture is one of anonymity – where Chinese people can hide behind an avatar and screen name to say and do things that they would not feel comfortable doing (or be allowed to do) offline (Source:

New and old

So while the emerging culture in China is one of greater communication, heightened desire, and more self-expression, their traditions and values are still the same. Chinese people respect the hierarchy, value the needs of society over their own, and hold achievement as the measure of success. These cultural differences may seem like major hurdles for your marketing in China, but really they just create the need for a different approach.

Using Market Me China to help you enter the China market

With a keen understanding and experience of Chinese culture, we are experts when it comes to entering the Chinese market. We can carry out Chinese market research, advise you on your options, and help you present the right image to your target market. Call us today to discuss your international ambitions.

(Image source: “Business Woman” |