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China’s New Communications Strategy – Youth Olympic Games China 2014

Without bothering to research it and without questioning it, everyone would agree with me based on our tacit knowledge of China that it is one of the oldest civilizations on Earth.

It’s universally agreed that China has a rich cultural heritage. If however, we take that research step into history’s pages we find that China is credited with having 47 World Heritage sites, the only country with more is Japan. Its dynasties date back to the Neolithic Era 3000-1500 B.C.

A number of business books are written teaching Westerners how to encounter Asians and the best course of action to take when doing business with this group that values honor above all else. My favourite, Thick Face, Black Heart by Chin-Ning Chu, starts, “Thick Face, Black Heart describes the secret law of nature that governs successful behavior in every aspect of life. The Americans pioneers had it. Asian businessmen use it” (p.7).

Recently while searching for pictures of the Barbados contingent on the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) Flickr feed this introductory statement by Chu rang true. China is evolving and doing just as much to conquer the West as we Westerners are doing to tap into the economies of scales of its population of billions.

Take, for example, the YOG opening ceremony flag bearers. Their uniforms look as if they have been designed based on teen music sensation Arianna Grande, with her high-heeled white boots trademark look and short skirts rather than anything to do with what we have come to accept as Chinese culture.

But then again, Chinese businessmen have for long time adopted the suit and tie to lull Western businessmen into a sense economic equilibrium. Why not let the females express themselves in Western garb as well to achieve a similar effect on a social level. The social, cultural implications of this choice speak volumes on the direction of China and its quest to become the next superpower.

French Olympic Committee (CNOSF) President Denis Masseglia is quoted by Inside the Games as raising “concerns over the scale of the Summer Youth Olympic Games” in China because the Chinese has put on a games that is “almost” at the level of the Olympic Games. Athletes at the Games also have access to social media sites like Facebook that are normally banned in China.

Using the types of communications strategy and imagery that they have adopted for the Games is certainly making the country widely appealing to an important stakeholder of the Games, the youth. This year the Chinese raised the number of scholarships to Barbadian students from four to ten.
China is thought to plan in 100 years intervals. The cultural and educational focus that it has infused into the YOG and its new diplomatic approach makes it well on its way to influencing the future generation of professional men and women worldwide.

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