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China, Hong Kong and their cross-cultural gap

Initially, Hong Kong had one clear function – to make money. Historically – to conduct all trade operations between China and the West. Thanks to the embargo, they changed their policy from trade to industrial and were very successful in it.

But above all, Hong Kong remains valuable to China because it allows intensive trade relations with two other tigers, South Korea and Taiwan, without compromising party line and domestic politics.

Most of Hong Kong's residents are ethnic Chinese who have lived, worked and developed under the British flag for hundreds of years. That is, the authorities are now trying to integrate three generations of people who grew up in the system of British law into a system with 5,000 years of indestructible cultural heritage.

It can be compared with the Russian aristocrats who settled in Paris after the revolution. Yes, their children and grandchildren have Russian roots, they speak excellent Russian, but their values with contemporary Russians are still different, environment is different, views, patterns of communication are different. They love Russia, but they cannot stay in their homeland for a long time.

The Chinese look at Hong Kong and imagine that Confucian principles are rooted in people, but in fact, no racial similarities, alas, are no longer dominant here. The people of Hong Kong are the bearers of their own culture. They are not "Chinese" culturally. But not British either. As for the pace, communication model, listening skills and making decisions, of course, here you need to compare with the Americans and look for an approach through the values of the American model of the world.

Another important notice. Bloggers influence one third of all purchases in the world. In China, this figure is 67 percent. In a few more years, their influence will only grow, since 95% of Gen Z representatives rely on social networks for making decisions. A large share comes from Tik Tok and We Chat, which were valued at more than $ 500 billion in mid-May 2020.

Why are the Chinese are already ahead of the whole world by such a margin? One of the factors lies in the mentality, the upbringing of past generations.

The Chinese do not like to make decisions on their own and there are at least three good reasons for this:

1. The education system in China emphasizes memorization and standardized testing.

A system of rote learning is common in public schools. Teachers do not require the child to understand the topic. The ability to reproduce text from a textbook word for word is much more valuable. Most of the universities in China, in contrast to well-known universities in Europe and the United States, work in rather narrow areas.

2. Hieroglyphic writing also involves exclusively cramming in the early years of study. In the first six months, Chinese children learn 400 hieroglyphs. Sentences are built from hieroglyphs denoting words. If the student does not learn them by heart, further education is not possible.

3. The Confucian system of society also does not rely on training to think logically and critically. According to Confucius, the state is the same big family, where all people are brothers, and Jinping is the father of the nation. The principle is valid at all levels of Chinese society: on the scale of the city, district, family. As a side effect – a low level of trust in the alien. A Chinese person trusts his family members, then his closest friends (with whom he will deal in the first place), then his compatriots, and then foreigners. To make purchases, he also relies on someone else's opinion.

In addition, the extreme number of products and offers puts pressure on a person. In front of a store shelf, holding a physical product in his hands, a Chinese person goes online to get the opinion of professional Kea Opinion Consumers (professional consumers) through “O to O” (online to offline). They should not be confused with Kea Opinion Makers. KOC taste the product professionally (eat hamburgers, tie tails, squeeze juices).

That is, from school, the average Chinese student is not accustomed to reasoning and thinking logically and critically (in private universities, the program is structured differently, but they are available to a very small number of people).

Not so in Hong Kong.

By its parameters, the education system in Hong Kong is a copy of the British educational process. The influence of Great Britain was expressed not only in the popularization of the English language, but also in the very form and methods of transferring knowledge.

English education avoids a narrow approach to teaching. It teaches you to think critically without taking anything blindly on faith.

Education in Hong Kong takes place in English and Chinese at the same time, so all students speak English perfectly. The education system meets the highest British standards and produces qualified specialists in demand around the world.

Children are taught from the very beginning to be the best. Lists of the most promising students are posted in the public domain so that large corporations can sponsor training for their future talented specialists. Kindergartens and schools are dominated by the spirit of competition and the pursuit of excellence.

In search of an approach to both China and Hong Kong, the cross-cultural factor must be taken into account first.

Culturally yours,

Anastasia Shevchenko

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