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Chinese Youth Culture For V&A Global Cities Series May 2008
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Chinese Youth Culture For V&A Global Cities Series May 2008


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  • 1. Youth culture Shanghai: An introduction
  • 2.
    • Social, economic, cultural and political forces influencing Chinese youth
    • Current youth trends in Shanghai
    • What’s next?
  • 3. Consider the changes
  • 4. 121 buildings over 8 storeys in 1980 10,045 buildings over 8 storeys in 2005
  • 5. 70% employed by the state in 1992 25% employed by the state in 2004
  • 6. 1.6 mn mobile phone subscribers in 1995 530mn mobile phone subscribers in 2007
  • 7. 1998 first private cars allowed 2007 world’s 2 nd biggest car market
  • 8. 50% retail sales increase 2001 to 2005
  • 9. Fastest economic growth of any megacity in the world since the early 1990s
  • 10.
    • The rise of the entrepreneur
    • Deng Xiao Ping market-led reforms
    • A bit of business on the side
    • Anything is possible
  • 11. Chinese youth incredibly entrepreneurial
    • “ Being entrepreneurial and working for yourself is an overriding factor in choosing a career, it’s a completely different drive from what is reported back in the US.”
    • Peter Thomas Black, partner Jigsaw International, consumer insight research agency, Shanghai
  • 12. Opening the door to the West
    • Tax Free Zones like Pudong
    • Western brands rushing in
    • Access to everything the world has to offer
  • 13. “ People are so optimistic here. They believe in progress, they really do.” Paul French, founder, Access Asia, market research Shanghai
  • 14.
    • No Tradition
    • Chinese tradition was washed away with the cultural revolution
    • Not set in their ways and adapt easily to change
  • 15. “ People like it. If I took those screens away, people would miss them. The Chinese are used to noise; everything is crowded here. If you make people choose between being bored or watching an LED screen, they’ll all choose the screen” Jason Jiang, founder, focus media, China’s first NASDQ listed media advertising agency
  • 16. Doing it their way
    • ‘ Little Emperors’ get what they want
    • Influence household spending
    • Decision makers
    • Collective Individuality
  • 17. “ I have a friend who got a law degree from Beijing Univeristy, but she threw it away to sell Amway products – she wanted to do something with more freedom, earn her own living, work for herself. We are actually doing the same thing, she sells toothpaste, I sell adventure. But we both share a desire to support ourselves and do our own thing.” Zhen Yi, Forbidden Frontier, Founder.
  • 18. Peasant Chic
  • 19.
    • The peasant values and imagery celebrated
    • Nong jia le: f resh, organic food
    • Mud splattered jeeps
    • Handy-crafts on office walls
    • Beads worn round the wrist
    • Tibetan mountain scenes in bars and restaurants
  • 20. Tian Xian Meimei a distant relation Sony Ericsson ‘simple happiness’ campaign
  • 21. Pick and mix spirituality fusing a range of spiritual elements
  • 22.
    • Tibetan Buddhism, Ayervedic medicine and yoga
    • Revival of Confucius schools and texts
    • Feng Shui, geomancy, fortune telling, blood type compatibility
    • Vegetarian and vegan restaurants
    • Zao Zi Shu Vegetarian Lifestyle (Jujube Tree); Shui Yuan; Gongdelin refurbished
  • 23. Hip-hop light
  • 24. Hip-hop dance replaced basketball; collectives; and club nights booming
  • 25. Hip-hop with Chinese characteristics “ I know what hip-hop culture is, I’ve been following it since I was 14, I listen to the music, I study the dancing, but I draw the line at the drugs, the sex and the violence. That’s not Chinese hip-hop culture.” ‘ [Chinese rappers] have that hip-hop spirit: nothing gets in my way, nothing stops me from getting where I want to go.’ William Bahader, member of Dragon Dance Studio and two-time hip-hop dance champion
  • 26. Collective individuality “ Hip-hop dance is done as teams, kids are in groups, supporting each other… it’s structurally very appealing and offers a safe outlet for youth expression.” Hung Huang, CEO of China Interactive Media Group
  • 27. What’s next?
  • 28. Unknown ‘ Making economic predictions based on the statistics is reasonably straightforward but as a global spiritual and ideological force, China is still an unknown quantity.’ Dr Kerry Brown, Chattham House, China Expert
  • 29.
    • No rebellion
    • Inclusive, not ironic, not critical
    • State control
    • censorship, inefficient, out of touch
    • Created in China?
    • Lack of expertise
  • 30.
    • Thank you
    • [email_address]
    • [email_address]