Chinese Consumer

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McEwen, W, Xiaoguang, F, Chuanping, Z & Burkholder, R 2006, 'Inside the mind of the Chinese consumer', Harvard Business Review, vol. 84, no. 3, pp. 68-76.


Today China becomes one of the biggest economies all around the world. After the economy boom, there is many affluent people appear. A study conducted in China, revealed that this country consumes a quarter of world luxury consumer products. Therefore, it can be obviously said that China converts one of the largest consumer markets with growth of its population and economy. Because of this, today, many companies focus to enter this country’s markets. However, it is hard to join these markets as there are some political regulations and procedures. Beside these, of course the other problem is to need to understand china’s business environment and consumer behaviour. Chinese consumer’s behaviour is changing as other people in other countries. Inside the Mind of the Chinese Consumer, by William McEwen, Xiaoguang Fang, Chuanping Zhang and Richard Burkholder, clearly show Chinese people’s changing tastes and their wants. Furthermore, this article is valuable to comprehend the China consumer market environment, and it helps to recognise that there are certain common notions, which are misconceptions. This paper lifts summary of the article and analyses and evaluates the article’s finding.

The purpose of this article is to find Chinese people real desires. McEwen et al. (2006) indicate that there are four popular assumptions that they are mistaken. First belief is workers in China “work hard and get rich” nevertheless, the research show that the percentage of this considered decreased. Moreover, today, self-satisfaction and taste of life become more important thought than before. The second one is Chinese labours are very devoted in their jobs. However, Gallup research shows that %20 of workers did not really like their job and %68 of them did not feel engaged by their work. In addition, McEwen et al. found employees think that they do not get what they exactly deserve and merely few workers feel that they get enough opportunities from their job. Moreover, their review suggests in big companies small amount of workers engages with their place of work. Furthermore, a large proportion of workers is not related their job so it causes lack of performance, job accidents and absenteeism (McEwen et al. 2006). McEwen et al. estimate that China’s products’ quality and service reveal low productivity and they guess it is the aim that Chinese people prefer other country products instead of Chinese’s. They evaluate that Chinese managers do not care individual development, and this is also linked a number of disengaged.

Another misconception is that Chinese consumers buy too much and spend a lot of money. On the other hand, according to Gallup survey, although there are many Chinese buyers and increasing their income, the average household incomes are still low in China. The last wrong thought is that household products have the largest pie in China market and Chinese consumers want to buy only functional products such as vacuum cleaner or washing machines. McEwen et al. emphasize that although increasing the aspirations in these products, people also want to enjoy with them, and it is also more important than function. Nokia is one of the examples and proof of this issue.

In addition, in this article it is stated that urban residents already have what they need and want while there is still a big difference between people live in a city and live in rural. Furthermore, automobiles are motionless costly for the most people in China whereas there are many buyers and good market for some companies such as GM and Volkswagen. Finally, authors conclude that China market is different from other countries’ markets and today rapid change is normal in this country.


Inside the Mind of the Chinese Consumer is a valuable article...
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