Usually, most Tuesdays we take a look at business, marketing, tech or social news in and around China. Today we are going to veer some way off that to look at a social issue in China. Namely Chinese thinking and ideals around dating, marriage etc.
We also want to prod you to look at situations through a lens different to your own cultural upbringing before judging them.
How is China dating relevant to Business?
That’s a fair question, and we were ourselves, divided over this issue initially. However if we view it in line with one of our mainstay believes: “ to successfully sell to consumers you need to fully understand them,” the answer becomes clearer. We are not going to dive in too deep ourselves with analysis, we will leave that to Sixth Tone from whom we drew the inspiration. However, we will ref another source for balance.
What we are hoping to do here is draw a comparison between the Chinese view and what perhaps is the western, cavalier, romantic, “fools rush in where angels fear to tread” (Alexander Pope- British poet) attitude or mentality of marriage or dating.
In her article, Shen Yang ( an associate professor at the China Institute for Urban Governance and the School of International and Public Affairs at Shanghai Jiao Tong University) outlines how some Chinese singles (as well as their parents!) view the dating game, looking at it largely from an age and female perspective in these examples:
“A man born before 1987 who meets my (financial) requirements but is still single must have some problems,” said 28-year-old Yu Jing.
“The good men were snapped up earlier, and the leftover men and women perhaps have problems,” said 28-year-old Qing Niao
“I imagine that a man should be older than his partner,” said 34-year-old Ma Lili. “But it’s not appropriate if the age gap is too large. He will correct you regarding how you behave and what you say as if he’s always right. It’s really bad.”
To us from a western perspective it seems to be a a little immature. A cold, calculating, self serving, shallow, materialistic almost cynical approach. It tends to suggest that the parties are looking at it as akin to the purchase of a luxury hand bag or mobile phone. Hardly any great wonder China’s divorce rate is increasing at an astronomical level. Can an awareness of this perhaps, help marketers add another layer of fine detail to their Chinese consumer” profile? You can read more here from Sixth Tone’s article: China’s Singles Agree: Age Matters .
However, to add a different perspective we would like to now introduce Qian Zhongshu a renowned 20th century Chinese literary scholar and writer, known for his wit and erudition. Among his many works one stand out piece is entitled: Fortress Besieged – a summary of the French expression; “Marriage is like a fortress besieged: those outside trying to get, those inside trying to get out.” Do we see many heads nodding in understanding!
This particular novel follows a rather hapless young chap from a well to do Shanghai family. As eldest – and rather spoilt – son, his doting family have sent him overseas to study. Ostensibly to earn his PhD. It appears however, he spends much of his time as a philanderer, working out ways to game the system.
He is welcomed home, complete with fake degree, as the prodigal son set to achieve greatness. However his character works against him and the book traces his fortunes or rather misfortunes in life, work and love. Set against the background of the Japanese invasion, Fortress Besieged is a humorously caustic, critical satire on the Chinese upper classes, well worth reading for that alone.
You can find the book at your favourite APP, or you can read it on line – free – here: https://dinnerape.com/fortress-besieged-pdf-qian-zhongshu.html
Finally, as we have said pretty much since our inception in 2003, to do business in China (or anywhere ) it can never hurt to understand your customers as much as possible. For any business person contemplating China, if she were to read only one book in an attempt to better understand Chinese, it should be this one.
Thanks for reading our China news, marketing, tech and social media article – we hope it was useful, relative, informative, valuable.
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Then perhaps you may like to chat directly and personally with Everlyne?
But please, be aware of local (China) time when calling from overseas. Despite rumours to the contrary, Everlyne is human, not a bot, she does eat, drink and sleep – sometimes.
Whatever your question re Chinese Business, Marketing Tech or Social Media, she will know the answer, or know someone who does! A brief intro below;
In 2003 Everlyne Yu co-founded WPBeijing Marketing Studio with Englishman Peter Bic, now known as Bic Brands.
She began Uengager, a company focused on customer engagement, as a SaaS MarTech company in 2017.
Hello, Nihao, I’m Everlyne
“I love to talk about and help people understand the amazing ways MarTech and SaaS can work to strengthen your business engagement with Chinese consumers.
I know you have questions or want to talk about your brand or business in China so please, drop me a line opposite. If you prefer live chat, call and talk to me live, in person direct.“
Everlyne is also a key note speaker, lecturer and KOL on MarTech in China. She is CEO of Uengager, business development officer for Bicyu.
Everlyne hs been privileged to work with a variety of international organisations, from VW, Cushman Wakefield, Sodexo, Bristol Myers Squibb to local Chinese firms such as Midea, and OK Order.
If you’re looking for guidance, tips, advice on any aspect of starting or growing a business in China or training, coaching your existing China marketing team for excellence, be sure to check out Uengager. Home page and base for Everlyne Yu. Read her short bio – opposite left – or contact her direct – below – for a free, heart to heart chat.
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