"What Chinese Want" by Tom Doctoroff
"...digital technology has not transformed consumer behavior at an elemental level. For all the savvy of youth and the broader awareness of the outside world, Chinese internet users' underlying conservatism is clear.
This book is in some ways very similar to the previously reviewed The End of Cheap China. Both the author of this book and the author that book are businessmen with a stake in China, both are (at least to some extent) Westerners, and both have written books for Western business interests. Author Shaun Rein operates a consulting firm, while Tom Doctoroff manages an advertising agency.
But thankfully that's where the similarities end, because where Shaun Rein wrote a more anecdotal, less objective account of China, Tom Doctoroff delivers a book simultaneously grounded in fact and sweeping in scope. In his analysis of Chinese consumers he delves deep into historical, political and cultural trends, all the while maintaining a laser-like focus on the modern Chinese character and how it influences spending habits both within and without China.
Beyond that there's not much else to say. More general readers will be put off by the first few chapters, which concentrate more on aspects of marketing to the Chinese consumer, but their perseverance will be rewarded by wider discussions Chinese society later on. The author does repeat himself a few too many times, but on the whole What Chinese Want is an excellent book, with a lot to say about its subject.
"The End of Cheap China" by Shaun Rein (2012)
"Elite China" by Pierre Xiao Lu (2008)
"China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know" by Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom (2010)
"On China" by Henry Kissinger (2011)