Summary of Advertising to Children in China

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Advertising to Children in China book summary

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  • Innovative


China’s one-child policy, introduced in 1979, has led to an unprecedented phenomenon: An urban child is now the sole benefactor of the attention, interest and earnings of two parents and four grandparents. This, combined with China’s mushrooming capitalist economy, has boosted children’s status, purchasing power and sway within Chinese households. Children now control far more currency than in the past. They influence family purchases and have pocket money to spend on indulgences. Kara Chan and James U. McNeal delve into this market, and illustrate how Chinese children perceive advertising by age, gender and location. Although the authors’ deep academic methodology, tables and quantitative analysis are not wholly relevant to the advertising business and many of their findings are not unique to China, getAbstract considers this unprecedented study a fascinating insight into the children’s market in China’s capitalist society.

About the Authors

Dr. Kara Chan is a professor at the Department of Communication Studies at Hong Kong Baptist University. James U. McNeal is a former marketing professor at Texas A&M University and a world expert on the effects of marketing on children.


“People x Money = Markets”

A market is a group of people linked by a common characteristic, such as age, gender or race, multiplied by their income or purchasing power. Mainland China is home to an estimated 300 million children younger than 15. Roughly 100 million of these children live in the more affluent cities, a growing market worth some $125 billion per year. China’s urban market for children’s goods is exploding.

As a direct result of the urban [farm families are often allowed to have two children] one-child policy, two parents and four grandparents now dote and spend money on a single child. In this environment, parents get only one shot at being good parents. They invest all their money and expectations in their child, hoping that they will succeed sufficiently as the child becomes an adult to prepare for a role reversal: One adult child technically could have to care for two parents and four grandparents. Therefore, a family will pay beyond its means to spoil its child. Coupled with deepening market capitalism and rising household incomes, Chinese kids’ purchasing power is escalating. The sheer size of the market is not the only reason that advertisers are...

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