Out with the old and in with the very new

08:50, August 01, 2011      

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China is yet to see many of its domestic brands become internationally renowned. Most important of all to the emergence of internationally competitive Chinese brands are the younger generations of Chinese people, that is, those born after 1980.

My research reveals a very different attitude toward brand management among this more dynamic, open and confident community. The research findings, for example, also indicate that those born after 1990 are even more "modern" than those born a decade earlier.

The findings include results from a Chinese consumer personality test, which suggest that quite a different attitude toward business and branding is emerging within younger Chinese generations.

While older Chinese managers appear very set in their ways, firmly favoring routine and control and do not like change, those born after 1980 thrive on novelty and variety and value a far more inclusive approach to managing people.

Younger generations are also much less ethnocentric and even rise to the opportunity of understanding different cultures. Moreover, such an egalitarian, innovative and open-to-change approach to business and branding among younger Chinese generations appears to be a trend that may lead to considerable change in the national business culture over the next 10 to 20 years.

Older traditional Chinese managers still maintain a management style dominated by the need (as they see it) for control, centralization, discipline and an extremely narrow-minded, short-term profit-orientation. Younger generations appear to reject this approach and appreciate that internationally competitive brands can only be achieved with a management approach that values empowerment, openness and innovation across the entire organization.

The West does not, and should not, fear the rise of China. However, older Chinese managers should, but probably do not yet, fear the rise of a new, younger, dynamic China.

The author is an academic at Tsinghua University specializing in marketing and management.

Source:China Daily
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