Marketers Struggling With "What Works in China?" May Want to Reconsider How Chinese Audiences Perceive Themselves
The Chinese call their country Zhōngguó (中国). Literally "Middle Country."
The fundamental idea is that China is at the center of the world.
This view of China's centrality differs from the current Western view that non-white culture is the other. It's obviously convenient for white marketers to assume that "foreign films" and "world music" are somehow distinct from the mainstream - but (as the global marketplace for culture evolves) it can lead to mistaken assumptions.
In other words, as Toni Morrison explains (in this clip from an interview with Charlie Rose above), assuming that white people and their values are at the center in literature, cinema, music or other artforms can lead to a sort of tunnel vision: A dangerous myopia that 21st century marketers must avoid.
Now that China's film business is on the rise, many Western filmmakers are asking "What do Chinese audiences want to hear?"
Shouldn't they instead be asking "What do Chinese filmmakers and audiences have to say?"