We are witnessing a phenomenon in Asia; a clash of cultures within a culture. In the past we have thought of the divide as being economic, between rich and poor. This is still true, but now the currency is information.
Asia’s digitally savvy online consumers are utilising online information at a pace that dwarfs the West. 82% of internet connected consumers in Asia regularly use digital resources and social media to research brands. Online consumers in China are almost twice as likely as their U.S. counterparts to use social media in their brand decisions. So where are they getting this information? They aren’t!
The great divide: Whereas Asian culture is usually seen to be conservative, digital consumers have voraciously adopted digital platforms, social media and mobile. However, businesses remain true to a history of conservativism. Infact, Chinese culture is one of the most conservative in Asia. And with this conservatism comes a reluctance to embrace digital or more specifically social media. Since China is considered the manufacturing powerhouse of the world today, this creates a great divide between customers desire for brand information and Asian businesses willingness to provide.
How will this culture reconcile itself? That is unclear. However, if business does not step up, the people will take charge of the brand and, in essence, negate the business’ contribution.
Keywords: Social Media, China, brand, Asia, online consumer, Chinese culture