Since establishing our first North American office in NYC about a year ago, we’ve often been asked by new US-based clients for a “back to basics” overview of today’s China.
We’re normally accustomed to providing deeper and narrower market intelligence and analysis of China’s business, government and consumer opportunities. However we’re always eager to support our clients’ market and cultural intelligence needs, so we’ve created a 12-month program of infographics to address this basic overview of China today.
We’ve called our year-long series Illuminant’s Chinese Takeout.
We’re proud to release the first part of 12: Enter the Dragon.
Scroll to the bottom to download a high-resolution PDF.
PLEASE CONSIDER THE OTHER INFOGRAPHICS OF ILLUMINANT’S CHINESE TAKEOUT “ENTER THE DRAGON” SERIES
TRANSCRIPT OF THIS INFOGRAPHIC
ILLUMNANT’S CHINESE TAKEOUT
ENTER THE DRAGON: A REALISTIC OVERVIEW OF CHINA
A CHINA-ENTRY GUIDE·PART 1 OF 12·JUNE 2012
China in a box
9.6 M KM² (26M MI²), 23 PROVINCES, 5 AUTONOMOUS REGIONS, 4 MUNICIPALITIES, 2 SPECIAL ADMINISTRATIVE REGIONS.
Many people are surprised to learn that China’s landmass is slightly smaller than the USA’s: 3.7 sq.mi vs. 3.85M sq.mi.
The people’s Republic of China views Taiwan as a province and it should be referred to as “Taiwan, China” in all dealings on the mainland. Similarly, refer to China’s two SARs as “Hong Kong, China” and “Macau, China”.
Many Chinese netizens say that the map of China resembles a chicken.
Population: US: 313 million China: 1.3 billion
Mobile phone subscribers: US: 258 million China 1 billion
Internet users: US: 245 million China: 513 million
MORE MALES THAN FEMALES
51.27% male, 48.73% female means that 34 million Chinese men probably won’t be able to find a wife.
Due to the one child policy (or “Policy of Birth Planning”), a typical Chinese family is only allowed a single child. Chinese men and women have equal rights in all social aspects, but in certain parts of China, particularly rural areas, people still value boys over girls because boys can carry on the family name and can bear heavier agricultural work.
The overwhelming majority of Chinese citizens are of the Han ethnicity. However, “ethnic minority groups” do exist in clusters. In certain regions, such minorities are actually the majority, such as the Uighur people in Xinjiang Province, and the Hui people in Gansu, Shaanxi, and Ningxia.
If you plan on doing business in such regions, it’s of critical importance that you study local “ethnic minority” cultures and religions.
“MARXIST-LENINIST SOCIALISM WITH CHINESE CHARACTERISTICS”
China’s unique form of socialism diverged from that of North Korea or the former USSR since Chairman Mao’s successor Deng Xiaoping introduced economic reforms in 1979.
The Chinese government formally defines its political/social system as “Marxist-leninist Socialism with Chinese characteristics”. It features a partial market economy with key sectors controlled by the government or state-owned enterprises.
When you’re working within the Chinese economy keep in mind that it’s still socialism, regardless that the few square miles around your fance hotel look a lot like capitalism.
All major world religions have some influence in China. Buddhism has traditionally been the most popular. Followers of Islam and Judaism are often related to specific ethnic groups. Taoism has been falling out of favor. Christianity (especially Catholicism) has developed substantial momentum in recent years since some “benign” forms of religious observance were decriminalized.
Technically, the 60M members of the Chinese Communist Party are now allowed to participate in religious institutions, however only a small minority do (certainly the more powerful the bureaucrat, the less likely he or she will declare themselves religious).
MANDARIN CHINESE, MOSTLY
Mandarin Chinese (“Putonghua”) is the standardized form of Chinese speech and writing however only around 840M (of 1.38) Chinese citizens can speak Mandarin! Hundreds of distinctly different dialects and languages are used for verbal conversations in different regions.
In the southern Guangdong province and Hong Kong, Cantonese (“Yue”) is has it’s own written and spoken forms and claims 71M speakers/readers. Aroung Shanghai, hundreds of different Shanghainese (“Wu”) dialects are mutually unintelligible by the language group’s 77M speakers. “Min” is spoken by 60M; “Xiang” is spoken by 36M; “Hakka” is spoken by 34M; “Gan” is spoken by 31M. Hundreds more non-Mandarin dialects and languages are spoken by tens of millions more.
PRIMARY FOREIGN LANGUAGE:
Modern Chinese students are mandated to learn English starting in middle school, and a certain level of English is a requirement for all Bachelor’s degrees. However, that doesn’t mean all Chinese people are English-capable. Since it’s mandated on all students, a huge number of Chinese people dislike the language with a passion. In China it is therefore important to conduct all business in Chinese if possible. For written communications, there is no question that beautifully written Chinese will be more effective than trying to communicate in English.