WPBeijing was a marketing studio founded by Peter Bic and Everlyne Yu in Beijing, October 2003. In 2017 it became known as Bicyu NZ Co Ltd. Aim2D is an umbrella media arm of Bicyu. This article is part of a Weekend Series where we dare to share some of our experiences and insights. So, make yourself a pot of Oolong tea, grab a chocolate bar and settle down for a longer read.
A shift in China’s Social System
Had you raised this topic with us back in 2003 we would likely have chuckled. Back then, being single in couple, group orientated Chinese society was nothing to be proud of. Indeed, it was a stigma. So much so that at Chinese New Year, when people returned home to their families, many young single Chinese would either find an excuse not to return or hire a “boyfriend/ girlfriend” for the duration rather than face the constant pressure and nagging from parents and grandparents.
Dining out back then was a fulsome affair.
Chinese restaurants were smokey, noisy and busy. Just the way Chinese liked them. Mostly large groups of friends or family dining out, laughing joking, where the pijiu and baijiu flowed freely amid multiple toasts. People generally enjoying themselves with a few couples scattered in between.
In some parts of China smaller restaurants were set up with love swings so couples could dine and stare into each others eyes. Bear in mind this was pre digital. No WeChat. The closest thing to social media then was WeChat’s grandmother- QQ- the Tencent knock off of ICQ.
Which probably many of you reading this have never heard of.
But of course, like all good things, it had to end. Post 2008 ushered in the digital era and by 2011 the soon to be ubiquitous WeChat app was ruling China. Society changed. People became more digitally connected and, perhaps, less physically connected. Today of course, couples still dine out but now their eyes are lovingly fixed on their mobile screens- not each other.
As China grew and prospered during the golden age of manufacture and export, other things changed. Pressure of life and work increased, younger people were squeezed into working longer hours whilst the cost of living increased in line with the standard of living. Relationships came under fire from time constraints and budgets. Dating started to become a cost in energy, time and money. Gradually, a new class of single Chinese were born. Those for whom singledom was a life choice, not a state foisted upon them. They wore their single badge with pride.
In 1993 a group of of students unofficially founded Singles Day- a day where rather than hide and lament their singlehood, they showed it with pride. Over the coming years singles would treat themselves with small gifts; flowers, chocolates small luxuries. Naturally this was not missed by, nor the opportunity lost on big business. In particular, Alibaba who, in 2009 launched what is today arguable the worlds biggest shopping extravaganza, also known as 11/ 11 or “Double Eleven.”
Now, until recently, our story would have ended here. But a while back I noticed a relatively new dining phenomenon. Tables for one. Yes, it seems that some dining establishments are now specialising in settings for single diners. Our only surprise was, why has it taken so long?
A few weeks back we introduced you to Sixth Tone, a new source in Aim2D’s stable so today we will let them continue the story of Marketing to Chinese Singles.
We hope it ignites the flames of inspiration.
Time to top up that tea pot, and maybe another bar of chocolate?
If however, you need a hand or extra encouragement, don’t hesitate to give Everlyne a call. She is waiting~
Hello, I’m Everlyne Yu, founder and CEO of Uengager and WPBeijing Marketing Studio 2003.
I have a wealth of knowledge and experience in the China market and have been privileged to work with many international clients, such as VW and their release of their Bora and the extremely successful CC as well as a long term, ongoing relationship with Sodexo.
I am happy to chat and discuss any questions, no matter how small or trivial you may think. Probably someone has already asked the same question- many times!
In China Marketing- there is no such thing as a silly question.
To see how your brand can flourish in China, please talk to Everlyne now, or understand more about me.