ABSTRACT

International news stories and popular business books in the West are often slanted to awaken an old dream that China’s market will make fortunes for Western brand producers (Croll 2006). This dream is encouraged by the mesmerizing potential of 1.3 billion customers, who constitute the “golden goose,” the “magic market,” “the mother of all new markets,” or “the biggest market for everything” (Croll 2006, xi; Knowledge@W.P.Carey 2009). China represents the “last market,” the “last great frontier” (Croll 2006, 8). Elisabeth Croll, Professor of Chinese Anthropology, illustrated this slant in the report of the 2003 new development strategy outlined at the Communist Party’s Third Plenum. The strategy placed the expansion of domestic consumer demand as a priority to shift from investment-led to consumption-led economic growth (Croll 2006). Whereas national news reported the strategy in terms of increases in jobs and salary levels, international news dramatized the announcement as an exciting development for Western brand producers interested in the promise of the Chinese consumer market. Likewise, during the global economic crisis of 2008 international news depicted China as a “bright spot” for producers of Western luxury goods whose sales had declined in other developed nations (Voight 2009).