Monday, March 13, 2006

"Hi, this is my daughter. She's just wondering about your position requirements"

Everybody who's visited China knows the phenomenon: the Little Emperor.

China has had its famous one-child policy for decades, and enforcement has been particularly effective in the well-structured cities. And it's those cities that have seen a spectacular rise in wealth and buying power as well.

The result? One-child families that have more money than they ever dreamt of, and only one child to spend it on. If you've ever been in one of the glitzy shopping centres in Shanghai or Beijing you've seen these little groups: a single well-dressed and well-fed child, surrounded by two proud parents, at least two grandparents, and possibly an aunt or two. All of these adults are continuously monitoring the child's every possible need.

This generation is now leaving school and starting to look for jobs, as this hilarious article in Shanghai Daily describes. Turns out, the parents' habit of sorting out anything their Little Emperor needs is not easily shedded. Recruiters complain of finding one job applicant after another in their offices, accompanied by a parent who acts as their spokesman, personal manager and chaperon in one.

Very funny, but for the alert marketer also a great opportunity. Here's a generation with unprecendented spending power not only because of their education and resulting job levels, but aso through their doting parents.

With the right tone of voice, communication channel and marketing message 'Little Emperor Marketing' can be a unique way to tap into the vast potential of China's evolving consumer market. Any takers?

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