Overview of the post-80's Chinese generation. The Influence of a Changing Environment

Essay, 2014

10 Pages, Grade: 17


Table of Contents

1. Who are the “Little emperors”?

2. The influence of a changing environment
2.1. Economical and political factors
2.2. Social factors
2.3. Resources: technology and higher education

3. Personal characteristics

Reference list

This research focuses on the post-80’s generation in China for two reasons: firstly, because they are radically different from previous generations meaning the factors influencing their entrepreneurial incline have changed; secondly, because they represent the future of the Chinese society, they will be the next ones to build their own companies, thus it is important to understand who they really are and what drives them.

1. Who are the “Little emperors”?

The “post-80’s” is a term which refers to the generation, especially in urban areas, born between 1980 and 1989 during the one-child policy (implemented in 1979), who are now between their mid twenties and their mid thirties and are still studying or have recently entered the labour market. About 204 million people were born during those ten years (China Statistical Yearbook, 2013),which equals to 11,7% of the entire population (Population of China: Statistics, trends, patterns and consequences). They are the equivalent of the “Y” generation in Western societies and are said to be the mainstream of the Chinese society in the near future, as they will play a critical role in its economy (Ting et al., 2012).

Tocqueville’s famous quote: "Each generation is a new society coming to life", dating back from the 19th century applies perfectly to this new generation which has undergone an incredible evolution and has created a major generational gap with their parents. This gap is even said to be equal to the gap between first and third generations in Western societies.

2. The influence of a changing environment

This new generation of young, educated, prosperous and individualistic people is extremely different from the previous one because of the important changes in the institutional environment they evolved in, which has had a tremendous impact on their personal characteristics and the way they were brought up (Ting et al., 2012).

2.1. Economical and political factors

On an economical level, the new generation witnessed the strong effects of the reform era and China’s opening up to the world, launched by Deng Xiaoping in late 1978. It led the country to becoming a market-economy with a pool of new opportunities and less government control over daily life (Ting et al., 2012). The speed and size of the economic development that went on in China, being the new “factory of the world”, in less than two decades is one of a kind.It is commonly referred to as “China’s miracle”, leading the country to becoming stronger and playing a critical role in the global economy. The economic growth of the country was boosted: the national GDP soaring at the rate of 9.8 % and per capita income growing by 39 times between 1979 and 2009 (Xiaolu, 2009).

China, a middle-class high-growth country, is a hotbed today for entrepreneurship increased growth expectation. It is a land of opportunity in high tech, healthcare and renewable energies (Padma, 2013). The 2008 Global Entrepreneurship Report categorized China as being an efficiency driven economy, thanks to its industrialization, the increased reliance on economies of scale, the increased production quality, and the capital-intensive firms. However, in order for it to get to the next stage and become an innovation driven economy it will have to be able to sustain high wages and a better standard of living (Padma, 2013),

Furthermore, the post-80’s generation was born right after the government decided to put into place the one-child policy, which means those young Chinese grew up with no siblings in a 4-2-1 type of family: 4 grand parents, 2 parents and 1 child. In 2007, Times named those Chinese children the “me generation” because of the full attention and over protection that was given to them by their families leading them to becoming more and more self-centred and individualistic, opposed to the traditional Confucian values of collectivism (Ting et al., 2012). The issues this policy is revealing today are tremendous; one of them being that the “post-80’s” Chinese generation will be the sole care provider for their elderly parents in a few decades, and the government will need to find and implement solutions very fast.

2.2. Social factors

Compared to previous generations who lived under food and money restrictions, always valuating the fact of saving money and working hard to survive, the post-80 generation grew up in prosperous conditions where social status is tightly linked to success and consumerism. Indeed, Chinese political and economical reforms led to deep social transformations in the society, especially regarding the living standards of Chinese people (Ting et al., 2012).Thanks to the rising economic status ofChinese families, the country witnessed the explosive growth of its emerging middle class, allowing the post-80’s generation to grow up with a totally new lifestyle compared to their parents.The estimates until 2022 concerning this middle-class predict a continuing increase (Graph 1).

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Graph 1. The magnitude of China’s middle-class growth, McKinsey&Company



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Overview of the post-80's Chinese generation. The Influence of a Changing Environment
Tongji University
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overview, chinese, influence, changing, environment
Quote paper
Oriana Rotta (Author), 2014, Overview of the post-80's Chinese generation. The Influence of a Changing Environment, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/281681


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