We’re almost a month into the new year – but for the Chinese, new year is just around the corner. On February 10th the year of the dragon will end as the year of the snake begins. For me this is the year where I start to get to know our Chinese cousins in the far east.
It’s a bit different from anything I’ve done at university before since there isn’t a huge amount of creativity needed to get through but it’s still relevant. I chose the module because more and more I see China this and China that, so obviously it’s a big deal and I want to understand why.
As we all know, most of the world’s products are made in China and more and more companies are upping sticks and moving their manufacturing lines to the east so it seems logical that, as a product designer, an understanding of how things work in China is a great asset to have. But as it turns out, understanding Chinese culture could be way more important than I first thought.
The Chinese know they can’t sustain themselves forever as the world’s factory, and as we’ve seen in the news it’s damaging their environment. They seem to have drawn the short straw. As a result, they’re now trying to move away from being a culture based on production to one based on consumption; from Made In China to Created In China.
Developing their own creative industry will ensure they benefit more when products and services go to market. There’s nothing we can do to stop them, which leaves us with a choice: Do we compete with them? Or work with them?
Learning about Chinese culture is not just about broadening our horizons. But for an aspiring product design it opens up a whole new world of possibilities and great opportunities.