Why do Americans think Chinese people eat dogs?

Chinese eat dogs - reality or fairy tale?

LONDON, April 23 / PRNewswire / - - New book shows how important it is to understand Chinese culture

For hundreds of millions of Chinese around the world, next Sunday marks the beginning of the year of the dog, which symbolically illustrates the cultural differences that need to be bridged between China and the rest of the world. Because of the traditional attitudes towards dogs and the growing interest in pets in China, many Westerners have often wondered whether the Chinese really eat dogs?

According to Tom Doctoroff, author of Billions: Selling to the New Chinese Consumer published this month by Palgrave Macmillan, the historical answer is a resounding "yes".

"There are certainly some restaurants, especially in the south and in some of the glittering streets of Shanghai, that serve dog stew, but most educated people would not admit they have a dog sandwich for lunch," Doctoroff said. "But globalization is taking hold everywhere, and as international norms of behavior and consumer behavior also affect China, dog feeding is becoming increasingly unpopular."

The pampered lapdogs in western countries benefit from being "man's best friend," but in China dogs have had a low status for centuries and this is only now gradually changing. Chinese attitudes towards pets in general are vastly different from those in western countries, where pampered pets are treated like family members. In the UK, annual pet ownership sales are over £ 3.3 billion (€ 4.9 billion); in Germany it is around 3 billion euros, and in France over 3 billion euros. In 2005, total sales for pet food, supplies, grooming, and veterinary bills in the United States were approximately $ 35.9 billion, according to the United States' Association of Pet Supplies Manufacturers.

In contrast, until recently, people in China were more concerned with self-feeding than wasting food and affection on pets. And then of course there are the negative associations: dogs in particular are associated with the lower classes of society. From ancient times they were despised as bootlickers, pledges of the mighty, gagged and enslaved servants and simpletons.

While Chinese attitudes towards pets and dogs are slowly changing, those who are interested in pets are mostly a nouveau riche minority. Holding a dog can also be interpreted as social arrogance, a quick and simple symbol of western middle class extravaganza. Although pet ownership has become socially acceptable in recent years, owners can still be viewed as 'empty shells'.

The fact that the dog is one of the 12 animals on the Chinese calendar does not mean that the Chinese worship dogs or consider them special animals. But on the contrary. "The Year of the Pig is considered lucky, but the Year of the Dog is just a humble, normal, conventional, boring and unexciting year," said Doctoroff.

"More and more people have dogs. They have long been the symbol of petty bourgeoisie and, until recently, politically incorrect. Even today, the license fees are extremely high, as if they were a kind of material extravagance. The typical dog owner is called 'he." nai 'denotes what literally means' second breast', but figuratively interpreted as' second wife 'or, more often,' lover '", explains Doctoroff as an example of how different China can be. "The only way to succeed for multinational corporations in China is to embrace its radically different worldview in all its aspects. The only way to enter the market is to delve into its vastly different cultural and operational scenarios. My book seeks the balance between optimism and realism, as a chance can easily be wasted. "

Tom Doctoroff is CEO of Greater China and Director for Northeast Asia at JWT, the largest North American and fourth largest advertising agency in the world. He joined Greater China in 1994 as Regional Business Director and has extensive 11 years of professional experience from his time in Hong Kong and China. In 2003 he was named Regional Branch Manager of the Year by Media Magazine, the region's premier marketing and advertising magazine. In 2004, he received the prestigious Magnolia Government Award in recognition of his contribution to Shanghai's scientific development. His book, Billions, sheds light on the critical role Chinese culture plays in making purchasing decisions and translates consumer insights into strategies for long-term success in China.

Pets are just one of the many cultural issues that need to be addressed. Doctoroff, in his book, equips the reader with the necessary tools to understand and capitalize on the underlying motivations of Chinese buyers, and points out the traps for multinational corporations. It also highlights ways marketers can take advantage of the Beijing 2008 Olympics and optimize sponsorship opportunities within the Games.

In the foreword, Sir Martin Sorrell, Chief Executive of WWP, the parent company of JWT, underlines the assumptions made in this book, speaking of the growth and development that he has seen since his first visit to China in 1989, as well as the importance to understand the differences between China and the western world.

Information on JWT

JWT, which is celebrating its 141st company anniversary this year, is the fourth largest full-service network in the world. The company's parent company is WPP (Nasdaq: WPPGY). JWT's main customers in China include Unilever, Diamond Trading Company, HSBC, Ford, Nestle, B&Q, Unicharm, Lenovo Computers and China Unicom.

Contact person: Marian Salzman, + 1-212-210-7585, [email protected]

Website: http://www.jwt.com

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Marian Salzman, + 1-212-210-7585, [email protected]