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China Society Consumerism in the Past Century Essay

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Updated: Apr 18th, 2020


The history of China is rich in memorable events and considerable contributions with the help of which this country takes the leading positions in almost all spheres of life nowadays. From a variety of aspects, China is regarded as the country of extremes and experimentations. In spite of the fact that China had a huge potential in many fields, Chinese people did not find it obligatory to participate in the economic boom that spread over all Asian countries after the World War II.

The political system of China was considered to be resolutely authoritarian till the last years of the 20th century (Stearns, 2009). However, a number of changes were observed after the ideas of Communism were implemented.

It is necessary to underline that the rise of Communism in China and the activities of Mao Zedong had a certain impact on consumerism, and Chinese consumers had to changes their strategies and improve priorities to achieve the success in the chosen field. Cross-generational disparities were observed in the Chinese society, this is why it was able to control human birth as well as the generations of Chinese consumers and distribution of incomes.

Under the ideas of Communism, the vast majority of Chinese consumers got a chance to improve their affairs and set new professional goals which contribute international relations, the development of retail stores, abilities to enter the Chinese market, and workers’ motivation. Chinese consumerism has already undergone a number of challenges and changes from 1914 till now, and the results remain to be rather successful and promising for the whole country.

Backgrounds which lead to Communism in China and promotion of consumerism

After the reign of the Qing Dynasty was over, China underwent numerous challenges as there was no authority in the country and people could not evaluate their possibilities in regard to the current conditions. Some land lords made attempts to control the situation, still, their actions were characterized by negative results and threats to the Chinese society.

In fact, the period after 1912 was one of the darkest in Chinese history. However, within a short period of time, many people who belonged to lower strata of the society started promoting the principles of Communism with the help of which it became possible to implement order and control.

Under the conditions before the Communism period, only a fewer consumers were able to meet their purposes and achieve certain success in their activities. It was hard to protect the consumers’ rights in the country where there was no authority; this is why it was crucially important for people to define one particular power that could control the nation. In 1920, it was suggested to support a new political faith that had liberal roots.

And at the end of the 1940s, Communism came to power in order to destroy the conceptions dictated by the proletariat. The chosen steps were rather radical: monopolization of the sources of information, attention to the already known Western-style parliamentary regime, and constant political opposition (Stearns, 2009).

Mao Zedong as an important figure in the Chinese history

The activities chosen by Mao Zedong were directed to improve the whole situation in the country and start controlling all spheres of life. Talking about consumerism, it is necessary to admit that consumer behavior was defined by the orders which had to be followed by the citizens under the Communistic regime. In fact, Communism controlled everything in China, from child birth to possible international relations.

What Mao Zedong offered was to refuse the ideas of Confucian according to which it was necessary to worship ancestors, promote harmony, and appreciate ceremonies. In his turn, Mao Zedong offered to underline the importance of young people in China by means of neglecting hierarchies and even family values. Youth had to get a chance to demonstrate their ideas and actions in order to choose a new way of country’s development.

Zedong paid much attention to Chinese families. It was even established that a family who had more than one child should be punished (Stearns, 2009). This one-child policy influenced Chinese consumers a lot: current generation of consumers was raised by means of several adults only and was able to enjoy considerable margins for spending.

It was suggested that the new ideology made some temporary improvements; however, such step influenced the future of the country, and the results are observed nowadays: current consumers may explore the global market the way they want using the Internet capacities and properly developed foreign media.

Consumerism in China

Taking into account the fact that China was influenced by Communism for a short period of time, it was evident that generalization of consumerism was impossible. In fact, consumerism was predetermined by uneven distribution of incomes and poor living style. In China, the main reasons to promote consumerism were to satisfy men’s needs, to feed properly, and to have appropriate clothes.

To make sure that consumerism was properly developed in the country, it was very important to focus on advertising that was controlled by the Communist Party, to increase profit potential that was determined by poor living conditions, to make use of professional help from Western countries, and to improve international relations and develop new ways of consuming.

Chinese consumerism promote the improvements of living standards under which a number of consumer patterns for health care introduce new trends and support the ideas of disparity between different regions.

For example, certain differences were observed in towns and rural areas. Rural areas had to spend a lot from the budget on numerous commercial tools and products, and the amount of basic equipment diminished. In towns, there was no need to divide budget on additional and basic equipment but be focused on appropriate health care services.

Still, the investigations show that the consumer market in China grows fast, and within a short period of time, new products may be accepted even if the predecessors are successful in the chosen market. Consumerism becomes a significant aspect in Chinese life, and consumers get the desirable access to retail stores, travels, international relations, and goods’ exchange.

A kind of revolution in defense of young people of China provided the youth with abilities to increase their educational levels abroad, to travel a lot and enlarge their cultural heritage, and to promote the development of the tourism industry with the help of which people from different countries are able to visit Chinese markets, share their own tastes, and use shopping as the most effective means of consumerism.

Communism dictates new conditions for Chinese people and defines the characteristics of consumerism

The role of fast spreading Communism is considered to be integral for Chinese consumerism. For example, Communist leaders thought that imitation of the West should improve the living conditions of Chinese people, this is why they tried to send as many students to study abroad as possible, they trained medical professionals in the Western sense, and they continued to associate their production to those products which came from different countries (Stearns, 2009).

Chinese young people visit different countries, gain necessary recognition, and develop their skills in order to come back to the native land and improve the services offered on the daily basis. Consumer characteristics in China are connected to travelling: incomes are usually based on how often tourists visit China and how long Chinese citizens may be abroad. International relations are developed due to the Communists’ intentions to influence Chinese mind and decrease ancestors’ worshiping.

There is a burning need to move faster, and constant attention to historical achievements and obedience to parents prevent the new generation to improve their skills and develop accordingly. This is why the period after Communism was spread in China is still identified as a new step to consumerism and citizens’ abilities to demonstrate their own potentials.


In general, Chinese society undergoes a number of positive changes due to consumerism. Still, consumerism in China was impossible without properly developed Communistic ideas by Mao Zedong, this is why when it is necessary to evaluate Chinese consumerism, it is very important to focus on Communism and the possibilities available.

For several decades, the nation suffered because of inability to organize the control over human abilities, and consumers had to neglect their own demands. Still, the achievements after the 1940s show how confident and skillful the Chinese nation could be.

Reference List

Stearns, P. N. (2009). World History in Brief: Major Patterns of Change and Continuity, Combined Volume. New York: Pearson.

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