Material world: Attitudes towards toys in China

Kara Chan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)
27 Downloads (Pure)


Presents research into materialistic values among Chinese children, in the context of Chinese culture and rapid economic growth, contrasting materialistic values with both communistic and Confucian values. Reviews the literature, which shows that children understand the concepts of possession and value from a very young age, and also shows the importance of collectivist values in Chinese advertising. Outlines the research method, which involved interviews with 15 students at a Beijing elementary school, and asked them to respond to pictures of children with and without new and expensive toys and games. Finds that there was a surprising negative attitudes to possessions: children with fewer possessions were perceived to have more friends, whereas those with lots of “cool stuff” would look down on other children; this type of attitude was present even among the younger children, who were naturally more egocentric, and other negative attitudes were that owning lots of toys was wasteful and would have an adverse effect on academic achievement. Concludes that Chinese society and parents both appear to discourage materialistic values, and makes suggestions for further research and for marketing campaigns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-65
Number of pages12
JournalYoung Consumers
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance (miscellaneous)
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies

User-Defined Keywords

  • Children (age roups)
  • China
  • Consumerism
  • Attitude surveys


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