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Media & Entertainment, Politics & Law

Comparing India’s Generation Y and China’s Post-80s


Hofstede’s Model of Cultural Differences 2010 study on India, China and the US (source: Steelcase.com)

If, as what I said last week, most established Indian scholars are still heavily influenced by the Western economic-political theories, thus sustaining a divide between India and China, today we should take a look at the next generation for foreseeing the future.

In Nov 2010, an interesting research paper which quoted some data and findings from McKinsey reports, Hofstede’s model and etc to study the differences between the Indian and Chinese youths found out that the Chinese youngsters are more long-term-oriented.

It also concluded that both “young people in India (Generation Y) and China (post-80s) are passionate about many aspects of western culture” but “it’s a mistake to assume that translates into a desire to become westernized. Part of their energy and confidence is a belief in their own country’s ability to be a world leader and their own ability to be active participants in that rapid evolution.”

This paper, precise, concise and in simple English, is a very good read. My focus here is that, despite being limited in a narrow scope, the young Indians are found to be “losing Indian culture and values, selfish” — “passion for Hollywood” and “shifting focus from ‘family first’ to ‘me first: my work, my things, my friends and my world’”; whereas the young Chinese are “self-centered” — “compared to previous generations, they’re selfish” and “still retain many traditional Chinese values towards family, but it’s mixed now with the desire to fulfill one’s own dreams”.

In short, culturally speaking, the young Indians are more westernized than their Chinese counterpart. Two of the many factors can explain this. First, Beijing imposes quota on foreign films showing in China: 10 per year 1994-2002, 20+ per year since 2003 (20 traditional silver screens plus 14 ‘3-D’ or large format movies) but there is no such quota in India.

The second reason is that the Chinese government places more emphasis on retaining traditional art and cultural values by spending 17 times more public fund than the Indian government. A study shows that in 2010-11, in terms of public arts spending per capita, the Ministry of Culture of India provided Rs 10.3 but the Ministry of Culture of China spent Rs 172.1, (Australian Council Rs 371.8 and Arts Council of England Rs 616.9).

In other words, even though the extents of westernization are not that serious in these two countries respectively and 1,000 years ago both India and China were passionate trading partners along the Silk Road, there is no ground for wishful thinking that the cooperation between India and China could expand easily in the coming 50 years.

The opinions expressed are those of the author, and not necessarily those of China Daily Mail.

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About keith K C Hui

Keith K C Hui is a Chinese University of Hong Kong graduate major in Government and Public Administration and the author of "Helmsman Ruler: China's Pragmatic Version of Plato's Ideal Political Succession System In The Republic" (2013).

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