Consumer Culture in China and the Middle Class Essay

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Introduction China’s unique consumer culture can be traced back to the turn of the twentieth century when it was closely related to and acted as an aid to nationalism. According to Gerth, Chinese consumption trends in the 1920s were directed by the slogan ‘Chinese should consume China made products’ (4). The motive behind this trend was to encourage the consumption of Chinese products, and nationalism was used to foster this belief and trend (Gerth 4). Consumption at this early age can be assumed to having been directed by the government, which used to regulate the goods which were consumed by its citizens. The onset of globalization shifted this trend from the ethnocentric tendency to consumerism where the Chinese citizens got access…show more content…
This movement tremendously influenced all aspects of China’s burgeoning consumer behavior and culture. This time also saw the branding of commodities as either “foreign” or “Chinese” with the consumption of the foreign branded products being discouraged in favor of the local ones. It was at this time that the ambitious desire of China to create its own national brand in nearly everything it produces emerged. It surfaced from this time that the consumer behavior was more of a nationalized one, in which the government dictated everything that was being consumed by the public. With the advent of globalization and liberalization, the trend shifted from a nationalized consumer culture where the government dictates what is consumed by discouraging consumerism (Li 84). According to Li, unlike the nationalized consumer culture, consumerism allows the consumers to make a free choice on what they would like to purchase (4). In addition, it allows them to embrace thousands of new services, brands, and products with ease. The consumerism culture is adopted from the west where people tend to spend more than what they have with a hope of repaying it later. According to Wu, the Chinese consumers tend to consume less and save more, which is the complete opposite of their western counterparts (77). Unlike the western world citizens, Chinese
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