The Digital Life: Digital and UX News - What a Rising China Means for Product Design

by Jon Follett

Episode Summary

China is on the rise, not just in the manufacturing and production of physical goods, but also in the digital realm. If Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's Q&A session with students at Tsinghua University in Beijing in Mandarin wasn't a sign of the times, then certainly the largest tech IPO in history, with Chinese tech giant Alibaba raking in billions of dollars to further fuel the growth of the company, is indicative of the fact that that the digital world is China's fastest developing frontier. In this episode of The Digital Life, we discuss the rise of China, and the unexpected opportunities it may represent for product designers in the West.

Here are a few quotes from this week's discussion.

Jon on Mark Zuckerberg's Q&A session in Beijing: 
Last week, Mark Zuckerberg spoke at a university in Beijing and he spent at least 30 minutes or so practicing his Mandarin in front of a fairly large audience and taking questions and answers. While I’ve seen the mixed reviews come in as to the quality of his speaking in Chinese, I think just the fact that a billionaire CEO from one of the most important digital companies currently running, the fact that he was in China, speaking the language and attempting to take question and answer, I think that’s a significant event.

Dirk on China's rapidly-growing consumer market:
According to the United Nations Statistics Division, in either 2015 or if not, most likely 2016, China will surpass the United States as the largest consumer market in the world.

Now, on the surface you might say, “Well, so what? China has a billion plus people. Of course, they’re the largest.” As recently as 2009, China was only the fourth largest and China was less than 20% the total of the United States. The U.S. was more than 5x, almost 6x, larger as a consumer market than China. In the course of just 6, 7 years, China went from being fourth in the world, a fraction of the United States to soon to be the largest consumer market in the world. The scale and speed of growth is massive and it really speaks to long-term strategy. 

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Topics: Podcast