China’s Cyber-Savvy and Pragmatic Youth

Chinese youth is an interesting, vibrant and cyber-savvy sector of Chinese demographics that is shaping the future of China.

Yesterday’s Seeking Alpha article says, eighty percent of Chinese youth in urban areas between the ages of 18 and 25 are active bloggers. That is approximately 50 million bloggers! They blog on a variety of topics, ranging from celebrities to sports to lifestyle. They discuss on topics such as what clothing to buy, what music to listen to, and what movies to watch.

These days, young people don’t care about political issues. They care about being cool and getting ahead. They are pragmatic, driven and extremely international-minded that set them apart from their parents.

Chinese youth also forms a major class of consumers. There are about 15 million undergraduate students in Chinese universities. They are increasingly keen on buying iPod music players, fashionable cosmetics and clothing, as well as other famous name-brand goods.

The number of Chinese college students is expected to grow to 30 million by 2010. These young adults are products of the controversial “one-child” policy. Chinese parents, wishing the best for their only child, are willing to foot every bill for their children during college years to ensure their success.

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21 thoughts on “China’s Cyber-Savvy and Pragmatic Youth

  1. Chinese youth are really no different than their western brothers and sisters. While the cultures are vastly different in many ways, kids are still kids. When I came to China I don’t know what I expected from the students: Something vastly different from what I had seen in the west, perhaps?

    Not the case. It’s reassuring to know that children and teenagers are the same across the globe.

    There is an international-drive, but I think I disagree on that being the idea of the students. In many cases this is an idea foisted upon and pushed by their parents. They are made to take English classes on weekends. Many of them have no interest. It is a case of the parents having better view of what is coming down the pipe and trying to prepare their offspring for the future.

    Just my thoughts…

  2. From what my daughter (who just returned from China) says, your article is very accurate. She met many students who were multi-lingual and extremely internationally minded. What I’ve read about China’s past tells me that this is relatively new to recent generations. She told me that her counterparts there were extremely competitive, as was the general population, with the United States in particular.

    Thanks for another great article, Helen.

  3. Steve, good point! Chinese parents do push a lot of things on their children and taking English class is one of them.

    What I am refering here is from what I read in a survey that Chinese youth are eager to be part of international community, where older generations are less interested.

    Thanks for for input! I want to take the time to read your articles too.

  4. The pressure of fierce competition is immense on every teenager in China. Most students are divided into different schools based on their academic results as early as a couple years into grade school. They are further segragated as they move up the academic ladder all the way up to University. The internet is a new and growing channel for these kids to vent their view of life and their interests. Most importantly, it is a way of interaction that allows them to let their competitive guard down for a change.

  5. Lars, agree with what you said that Internet is a new channel for these kids to express themselves. They want the world to know them!

  6. The China Market Research Group (CMR) published a full report entitled THE BLOGGING POINT on blogs and BBS in China and the impact they can have on MNCs doing business in China. The report includes 3 case studies on MNCs — Volkswagen, Colgate-Palmolive, and Haagen-Daaz — that have run into trouble in China because of blogs.

    The article version you see on China Seeking Alpha is an abridged version.

    For a free copy of the full report, feel free to email us directly at or email Shaun Rein, Managing Director of CMR at

  7. Fascinating reading Helen! As the mother of 4, I was immediately struck with what a difference a society comprised of “only child” families would make. The added pressure on the kids….something to ponder!

  8. Thanks, Gisela and Jim.

    Gisela, yes these kids have a lot pressure. My nephew, who is the only child and about going to college, told me a lot of story about it:-).

    Jim, thank you for reading!

  9. As the youngest of many, I can say there was no pressure on me . . . I can not imagine having a parent’s sole attention!

    Fascinating articles, it is great to read about other cultures from an unedited source.

  10. The chines parents sound more like the american parents. I can understand wanting a better life for their children, yet the world should be less competitive and more cooperative.
    I also hope chinese youth will preserve their culture balance and not become western copies.

  11. Helen,
    I’m gllad to see you on the front page! As a Pre K – 5th grade music teacher, I perceive the majority of young Chinese/American students to be very bright. They are motivated to learn and to achieve. As a parent, I found that the parents of my children’s Asian friends were very engaged in providing a rich and educational environment for their children including private music lessons, Chinese and Japanese language schools, and related extra-curricular activities. Therefore, your article’s statistics are not surprising to me.

  12. lea, I agree with you Chinese youth will hopefully embrace their own culture and not become western copies. I believe culture heritage is something you cannot get rid off. I remember when I first came to this country as a young student, I wanted everything western but my own culture. Then I realized those things are within me, and within me for ever, even I was not realizing it at the time.

    California, I think the 80% is refering to the people who are online in the urban areas. The number does sound high to me.

    Jeff, be optimistic :-).

    Jan, thank you so much for you input. I would like to hear more about your students!

  13. jessie, thank you very much! The editorial pick is unexpected for this one – some of my very carefully-written articles didn’t get picked at all. Oh well :-).

  14. congrats on editor’s pick, helen! you always write such interesting articles. a while back, we were on a chinese movie kick (thanks to netflix)…i was so surprised to see that the young people were SOOOO technologically hip. i felt old!

  15. Helen, thanks for your good words! It helps a lot for me to undstand more about Chinese kids at my age. I will visit China this fall.

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