The Golden Pig Year baby boom and the power of superstition in China

It’s no secret that superstition runs deep in Chinese culture. And this Chinese New Year is yet another reminder of that, as this NPR news story discusses in the baby boom for the Golden Pig year:

In China, city-dwellers are only allowed one child, so many are timing their pregnancies according to the traditional lunar calendar to promote the most auspicious birth. Some newspapers have called 2007 an especially lucky “golden pig year,” which only comes around every 60 years. And that is spurring a baby boom….

The city government has even stepped in, warning women to try to avoid getting pregnant this year. As Huiyuan points out, these piglets will compete for hospital beds and go on competing throughout their lives — for school places, university places and eventually, wives.

Still, commercials for baby products are taking up double the air time, and companies are preparing for bumper sales.
Outwardly, China may be changing unbelievably fast, as skyscrapers sprout and farmland is gobbled up by ever-expanding cities. But beneath a modern veneer, traditional superstitions run deep.

What’s interesting to note is that the public seems mostly unphased by the prospect of looming competition for their “piglets”. Taking advantage of this “auspicious year” trumps all practical concerns.

So what’s the take home here? Never underestimate the sway of superstition to the Chinese public. Many practices that we might consider superstitious are simply part of life in China — such as choosing a fortuitous wedding date through a fortune teller.

If you’re marketing to the Chinese public, it pays to have some basic knowledge of superstitions and how they may affect your products/services. Sometimes, in the case of the companies selling baby products in China, you might just find yourself on a wave of profits — all because of good timing and superstition.

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