China perception versus China reality
The perception “Made in China” does not reflect the reality of “Created in China.” As China returns to its historical role of a global economic power, it is also returning to its heritage of innovation and creativity. Corporate leaders who fail to recognize this transformation will do so at their own peril. This recognition begins by dispelling stereotypes and identify the new norms and standards within Chinese culture and industry. We know that China is a culture based on the Confucian emphasis on maintaining harmony within chaos. This results in a belief in meritocracy, pragmatism, and most importantly, a culture that puts emphasis on community over individualism.
It is my opinion that the U.S. fosters a culture of creating ethnic stereotypes, and the two powerful presentations by Tom Doctoroff, CEO, J. Walter Thompson Asia Pacific, and David Gosset, Director Academia Sinica Europaea CEIBS, gave substantial and detailed evidence the Chinese culture and economic impact are drastically misunderstood and underestimated by many foreigners.
Mr. Doctoroff emphasized the two drivers of Chinese culture: Protection and Projection. With community at the core of the Chinese value system, a projection of success and achievement and protection of family and society are essential elements in effective marketing and communications.
At the heart of Mr. Gosset’s presentation is that the China Renaissance is not a surprise to Chinese. The surprise is the decline over the past 100 years. And that the first step in learning about China is to unlearn about China…then to learn.
- A market that impacts the world
- A political entity that is reinventing government systems
- A civilization with roots that go back thousands of years
Most importantly, Chinese modernization is not just Westernization. China is back, but what does China want? How will they use their power? China does not want to lead the world and does not want to be led. China does not want to follow; they want to be a co-architect. The US will have to lose ground, but are they willing? China does not want what the US wants. Either there is cooperation, or the competition between the two superpowers will escalate.