Tuesday, May 31, 2011

    Capitalizing on Young Professionals in China

    It is no secret that Chinese culture centers around the family and this fact is taken full advantage of by advertisers who plaster images of happy families onto all sorts of advertisements for all kinds of products. Products are often marketed as something that brings families together or makes the whole family happy. However, there is a large group of Chinese, that are trying to get farther away from their families, not closer and most people are not seeing it. Did I also mention that they have spending power?

    I am writing about the growing number of Chinese young professionals, who have tasted independence in university but are then forced to move back with their parents due to high housing prices. In addition, this group has a lot of disposable income due to the fact that they do not have to pay for housing and only support themselves. I first learned about this group of young independence seekers while talking to an MBA graduate at a nonprofit meeting. He told me that the best part of London, where he did his MBA, was not the culture, people or food but rather the independence he got from his parents. That is when I realized how important independence was for this new generation of Chinese. Slowly, I began to recall conversations that I had with Fudan students where they talked about how great it was to be living on their own in college and being able to make decisions independent of their parents.

    Upon further contemplation, I realized that this want for independence should not be of any surprise to anyone. This current generation of young professionals in China consume American culture in large amounts. American music, movies and television series which strongly stress independence, especially from that of parents, are all incredibly popular with the university crowd in China. In addition, many of these young professionals have experienced life away from their parents in university and also traveled abroad to more independent oriented cultures. Therefore, it should be no surprise that China’s current crop of young professionals value independence from parents more than previous generations.

    Though there is no product that a company can make that will give these young professionals the independence they want, short of housing, capitalizing on this want for independence is possible. Products and services that serve as escapes from parents, such as short vacation packages for them or their parents, should appeal to these young professionals trapped at home. Also any products or services that serve to make the parents more independent from the young professionals will be well received as well.

    Corporations would do well to create or market products and services that satisfy this desire for independence among China’s new young professionals.

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