Internet trends: marketing research & predictions

The Chinese dream versus the American dream: Chinese and US online surveys

November 29th, 2007 by

After world war 2 and as part of the “American dream” thousands immigrated to the US to find there a home.
The Chinese dream, is taking place right these days as more and more Chinese are exposed to the internet. The Chinese need not physically immigrate to an unknown country – they are managing life changes from their own homes. Follow them on the web: exploring, socializing, and expressing themselves.
On one of my recent posts on the Chinese online behavior, statistics were presented to address the so called “addictive” symptoms of the online Chinese users. A reference study to compare the Chinese internet behavior to the US behavior was missing.

JWT and IAC reported this week two parallel online surveys, conducted on the US and Chinese youth groups (16- to 25-year-olds).
According to the study, while youths in both countries feel dependent on digital technology, this attitude is far more pronounced in China. Chinese internet users perceive the web as the primary tool for establishing their identity in a land which offers them complete freedom to explore and communicate. Moreover, the internet serves the Chinese youths as a social tool to replace offline interactions. The powerful effect of these two needs explains its intensity and the demanding nature of this channel for the Chinese internet users. For American youths these needs are (still) provided by offline interactions. ¼br /> I gathered the results of the survey as reported by the Chinese internet users (see parentheses for the US results) and divided them to relevant categories of internet dependency, online interaction management, and social and identity benefits.  .

Digital dependency:
• 61% claim they have a parallel life online (US: 13 %).
• 86% report that “I live some of my life online” (US: 42%)
• 80% agree that “digital technology is an essential part of how I live” (US: 68%)
• 25% report not feeling OK when they are without internet access for longer than a day (US: 12%)
• 42% admit they feel sometimes “addicted” to the online life (US: 18%)
• 48% feel that “things online are more intense than things offline” (US: 12%)
• 61% report feeling strong emotions prompted by online interactions (US: 47%)
• 24% feel “more real online than offline” (US: 4%)

Managing Online interactions:
• 51% report they have adopted a completely different persona in some of their online interactions (US: 17%).
• 63% agree that “It’s perfectly possible to have real relationships purely online with no face-to-face contact,” (US: 21%)
• 79% think it is good to be able to express opinions anonymously (US: 42%)
• 72% say they have expressed personal opinions or written about themselves online (US: 56%) and 52% report that they have expressed themselves more strongly online than they generally do in person (US: 43%). 

Personal benefits:

A. Social values:
• 77% report that the internet helps them making friends (US: 30%)
• 32% admit that the internet has broadened their sex life (US: 11%)
• 54 % said they had made or heated up dates using text messages (US: 20%)
• 82% agree that “Interactivity helps create intimacy, even at a distance,” (US: 36%)
• 77% agree that computer/console games are much more fun when played against others online (US: 33%) 

B. Identity formation and self expression benefits:
•  73% go online to share opinions with others (US: 43%)
• 60%  report “Online interactions have made me more self-aware” (US: 26%).
• 73% claim that online they are free to do and say things they would not do or say offline (US: 32%).
• 69% agree that “I have experimented with how I present myself online” (US: 28%).
• 66% agree “Online interactions have broadened my sense of identity” (US: 26%)

In both China and the U.S., random online surveys polled respondents aged 16-25. The U.S. portion, which included 1,079 respondents, was conducted from Nov. 9-14 using SONAR  research tool. In China, Millward Brown surveyed 1,104 respondents from Nov. 9-15; the survey was conducted in Chinese.

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4 Responses

  1. messels Says:

    _awesome_ information. the future looks truly bright for the internet in china…if we can get past censorship…but it is a tyranny and tyrannies need to control the flow of information.

    if the trends are correct in this report, i could see the internet being the catalyst to break the mao-back.

  2. Love affairs and blogging coming from China Says:

    […] Following the fast growing Chinese internet users community, and? while gathering pieces of information about their profiles and web habits, I found two new? and interesting surveys revealing that: 1.? One out of four Chinese internet users are bloggers. 47 million bloggers! . Note that If you take Technorati’s numbers from the beginning of 07 and re-calculate it = Chinese is probably soon to be the #1 blogging language, or is it already? (Fact is currently no one knows / no one publishes the amount of blogs users generate ..) 2.? One out of five Chinese university students admitted they had at least one Internet lover (38% report that “others they know” are having on-line love affairs..).? ? ? […]

  3. Chinese suffer internet addiction or China is witch-hunting internet use? Says:

    […] JWT survey? shed some lights on the issue by comparing USA internet behavior to those of the Chinese. In this survey – the Chinese users displayed more signs of internet dependency than those in the USA. Other studies present a somewhat healthy profile for Chinese on line users, who blog and become emotionally? involved. The labeling of this dependency and the misleading interpretations is what I argue against. […]

  4. Dick Booton Says:

    Lady Gaga wishes to be reincarnated as a ‘mean and intense version associated with herself in a future life.

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