Producer 1990 Institute 
Overview The Millennial generation is the largest in history for both China and US.  They are reaching their prime working and spending years and their impact on the economy and the world is huge.  This is the first tech savvy generation, one that lived through the beginning of the internet and where there are more exchanges between the two countries.  They are experiencing technological change, globalization and economic disruptions.  But are they similar or different in their thinking, goals, and spending habits, given their respective political framework?

Time Code: 

0:00 Intro

0:08 Internet Phenomena

0:30 Population Size

1:20 Average Working Hours

1:38 Key Concerns

2:03 Job Hopping

2:48 Where they live

3:20 Home Ownership

3:49 Income Level

4:23 Spending Generation

4:55 Marriage can wait

5:39 Post High School Education

6:28 Outro

Publish Date May 13, 2022
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Reference Materials Read:

A Shifting Landscape: Chinese Millennials in the workplace, 2015  Haworth Report

Chesler, Russel, The next Baby Boomers are China’s Millennials, 2021 Financial Review

Cools, Luisa Why Rural Officials can’t always lure Millennials back home, 2018.  Sixth Tone

Dychtwald, Zak. Chinese millennials are about to kick US millennials’ butts, 2018, NY Post

French, Paul, What do Chinese Millennials Want?, 2020 Chinese-Britain business focus, interview of Eric Fish

Frey, William H, The millennial generation: A demographic bridge to America’s diverse future, Brookings Institute

How Millennials today compare with their grandparents 50 years ago. 2018.  Pew Research

Huang, Christine, and Silver, Laura.  U.S. Millennials tend to have favorable views of foreign countries and institutions, even as they age, 2020. Pew Research Center

Millennials Coming of Age, Goldman Sachs, Insights

Tilford, Cale. The millennial moment – charts.  2018 FT series, Demographics and Population

Yuan, Li, China’s ‘OK Boomer”: Generations Clash Over the Nation’s Future. 2020, The New York Times


China’s Millennials: Ambitious, Bold, and Dissatisfied, 2016. Council on Foreign Relations

China’s new youth, with Alec Ash and Stephanie Studer, 2021 Sinica Podcast powered by SupChina

He, Huifeng, China population: millennial couples decry ‘unaffordable’ childcare as fertility rate falls, 2021, SOuth China Morning Post.

In China’s New Age Communes, Burned-Out Millennials Go Back to Nature, 2021 Audio version by China Stories

Talking about my generation: Chinese Millennials, 2017,  China File, A Sinca Podcast

Under Red Skies – Inside the Minds of Chinese Millennials, 2019 Radii Wo Men Podcast


The American Dream through the eyes of Chinese millennials, 2017 SupChina.  What does the “American Dream” entail for young Chinese in the U.S.? SupChina spoke to some Chinese students at Columbia University last week. Here’s what they had to say – a street interview.

The Battle for Chinese Millennials Minds, 2018, NBC Left FIeld.  Are millennials in China becoming too westernized? A cultural and political shift appears to be occurring among young people—all under the watch of the Chinese Communist Party. A recent study found that more than 90 percent of Chinese university students say they’ve been influenced by Western culture. The Chinese government has been responding to these changes, reigning in Chinese media that falls too far outside the traditional narrative, and even engineering their own Marxist video programs aimed at youth. But what does this battle for Chinese millennial minds mean for the future of the country?

Dychtwald, Zak, 3 things the West gets wrong about Chinese Millennials, 2019 TEDxQingBoSt.”Most often when Westerners look at China they look at one of two things: either a big, “Communist” government, which we find scary, or a rising, robust macro-economy, which we find exciting. We rarely look at the people, particularly China’s 417 million Millennials who will soon be guiding the country’s powerful step and redefining every market they touch. In this talk, Zak Dychtwald, author of Young China: How the Restless Generation Will Change Their Country and the World, explores three major ways Westerners misunderstand China’s young generation.” 

The Nature of Millennials (The Nature of Things parody), 2018 CBC Comedy.  A fun video jabbing on the stereotype of Millennial characteristics.  Is it a far representation?


Ash, Alec. China’s New Youth, How the Young Generation is Shaping China’s Future. Arcade Publishing, Inc., 2020

China’s New Youth follows the lives of six young Chinese as they navigate their aspirations, discontents, politics, and love lives. Their stories include a netizen nationalist, a country migrant, the daughter of a Party member, a rising pop star, and a feminist entrepreneur. With intimate access to this diverse generation, Alec Ash—a young writer based in China since 2012—gives a vivid, immersive, fascinating account of young China as it comes of age.

Dychtwald, Zak. Young China: How the Restless Generation Will Change Their Country and the World. St. Martin’s Press, 2018

A close up look at the Chinese generation born after 1990 exploring through personal encounters how young Chinese feel about everything from money and sex, to their government, the West, and China’s shifting role in the world–not to mention their love affair with food, karaoke, and travel. Set primarily in the Eastern 2nd tier city of Suzhou and the budding Western metropolis of Chengdu, the book charts the touchstone issues this young generation faces. From single-child pressure, to test taking madness and the frenzy to buy an apartment as a prerequisite to marriage, from one-night-stands to an evolving understanding of family, Young China offers a fascinating portrait of the generation who will define what it means to be Chinese in the modern era.

Fish, Eric. China’s Millennials: The Want Generation. Rowan & Littlefield, 2015

Chinese millennials are a world apart from those who converged at Tiananmen. Brought up with lofty expectations, they’ve been accustomed to unprecedented opportunities on the back of China’s economic boom. But today, China’s growth is slowing and its demographics rapidly shifting, with the boom years giving way to a painful hangover.

Immersed in this transition, Eric Fish, a millennial himself, profiles youth from around China and how they are navigating the education system, the workplace, divisive social issues, and a resurgence in activism. Based on interviews with scholars, journalists, and hundreds of young Chinese, his engrossing book challenges the idea that today’s youth have been pacified by material comforts and nationalism. Following rural Henan students struggling to get into college, a computer prodigy who sparked a nationwide patriotic uproar, and young social activists grappling with authorities, Fish deftly captures youthful struggle, disillusionment, and rebellion in a system that is scrambling to keep them in line—and, increasingly, scrambling to adapt when its youth refuse to conform.

Fong, Mei. One Child: The Story of China’s Most Radical Experiment. Published by Mariner Books, 2016

An intimate investigation of the world’s largest experiment in social engineering, revealing how its effects will shape China for decades to come, and what that means for the rest of the world

Data Sources This section contains additional references on specific data supporting the video:


Chinese millennials: confident, connected and prolific content sharers, 2015.  PR Week

Millennials stand out for their technology use, but older generations also embrace digitalife, 2019.  Pew Research

Apps they use: 

Popular Chinese Apps in 2021, Launch Metrics

WhatApps do Millennials use in 2021, Koombea

Population magnitude:

There are 1.8 billion millennials on earth.  Here’s where they live. 2021 World Economic Forum

Working hours : 

Young Chinese are sick of working long hours.2018  BBC

Where do millennials work the longest hours? 2016 World economic forum

Financial Concerns: 

Meet the typical Chinese millennial, who makes $22,000 a year but has no student debt, grew up in an economic boom, and has learned how to outhustle everyone else.  2021, Insider

Key Concerns: 

The Deloitte Global 2021 Millennial and Gen Z Survey, 2021 Deloitte

Job Hopping:

What are job-hopping millennials in China pursuing?. 2019 CGTN

Where do they live: 

More millennials now live in suburbs than in cities – 2018.CNBC

Comparing China’s elderly to its millennials and Gen -Z – 2020 China Skinny


The country where 70% of millennials are homeowners, 2017, HSBC Study

Millennials and House, homeownership demographic research, 2021 Freddie Mac Single-Family

Income levels: 

Meet the typical Chinese millennial, who makes $22K a year but has no student debt, grew up in an economic boom, and has learned to outhustle everyone else, 2021.  Insider

Millennial Income Statistics, 2022, The Tokenist Intelligence Unit

Spending Generation: 

Winter 2020 Better Money Habits, Millennial Report, Bank of America

Meet the Chinese consumer of 2020, 2012. McKinsey and Company

The Chinese consumer in 2030, 2016, The economist 

Marital status: 

Are you one of the 240 million single population in my country? 2020 CCTV network

As millennials near 40, they’re approaching family life differently than previous generations, 2020. Pew Research

Chinese Birth Rate falls to lowest in seven decades.  2020  BBC News


Millennial life: how young adulthood today compared with prior generations, 2019. Pew Research 

Investing in the Rise of the NEw Spending Class, 2016. Visual Capitalist

Education and employment are the most anticipated topics of the two sessions for young people, 2019 China Youth Daily.

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