Social currency in an online society – Tom Doctoroff

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Tom Doctoroff

China’s deep Confucian roots do influence the way the internet has developed, says marketing veteran Tom Doctoroff, author of What Chinese Want: Culture, Communism, and China’s Modern Consumer, to the South Morning Post. “I call it pride commerce, where there is the idea that you are what you buy … and that sharing your interests is a way to make your identity stronger,” Doctoroff said.

The South China Morning Post:

Social+ apps have also gained traction because Chinese tend to be more expressive and open online compared to in person due to the strong influence of Confucian values that minimise individualism in favour of the collective good, according to Tom Doctoroff, chief cultural insights officer at branding and marketing consultancy Prophet.

“The Chinese often generate social currency through their activities and online persona. The online world is a place where you can project your identity safely, and so there is a greater amount of expressive liberation happening online in China relative to other countries,” he said.

As China continues to prosper and its middle class becomes more affluent, many Chinese want their interests or material possessions to reflect that they are “sophisticated and worldly”, so many are happy to share their personal interests or purchases with others online, he said.

“I call it pride commerce, where there is the idea that you are what you buy … and that sharing your interests is a way to make your identity stronger,” Doctoroff said.

More in the South China Morning Post.

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