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Journal cover: Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal

Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal

ISSN: 1352-7606

Online from: 1994

Subject Area: International Business

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The heterogeneity of Chinese consumer values: a dual structure explanation

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Title:The heterogeneity of Chinese consumer values: a dual structure explanation
Author(s):Xiaohua Lin, (Department of Global Management Studies, Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada), Cheng Lu Wang, (Department of Communication and Marketing, School of Business, University of New Haven, West Haven, Connecticut, USA)
Citation:Xiaohua Lin, Cheng Lu Wang, (2010) "The heterogeneity of Chinese consumer values: a dual structure explanation", Cross Cultural Management: An International Journal, Vol. 17 Iss: 3, pp.244 - 256
Keywords:China, Consumer behaviour, Consumerism, National cultures
Article type:Conceptual paper
DOI:10.1108/13527601011068342 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Acknowledgements:The authors thank guest editor Alan Au and an anonymous reviewer for their constructive comments.

Purpose – This paper aims to discuss inconsistent and often contradictory consumer values and consumption behaviours in contemporary China. The seemingly paradox is explained by the dual structure theory of consumer value system.

Design/methodology/approach – This study provides a comprehensive overview and an in-depth analysis of Chinese cultural values from a theoretical perspective.

Findings – Although the Chinese value system may appear coherent relative to those of other societies, it contains inconsistent elements that are the seeds of conflict, confusion, and change. Those contradictory values have coexisted and interacted with each other from a historical perspective.

Research limitations/implications – Although the argument raised in this paper has support from prior literature and anecdotal observations, it should undergo further empirical validation.

Practical implications – Given that consumption values vary across different consumer segments, different strategies should be developed for each segment. Those Western businesses who capitalize on these inherent contradictory, heterogeneous value elements will have the advantage over those who do not.

Originality/value – This work challenges the conventional view that the Chinese have preserved homogeneous values, and provides a case in which there is a danger in using the nation-state as a surrogate for culture and as a unit of analysis.

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Qualitative research in international marketing.