Brill’s Encyclopedia of China

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(1,320 words)

It has been proposed that, since the early 1980s, China has undergone a "consumer revolution". Looking at the statistics, this seems like a fair idea: between 1984 and 1994, the average expenditure per capita increased fourfold. More important than the sheer numbers, however, are the mental changes involved in this "revolution", from the frugal notion of "hard work and simple living" to an increasing hedonism of the contemporary urban consumer culture.

In rural pre-modern China, a periodic-marketing system, with traveling merchants, satisfied the needs of a country…

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Johanson, Perry, “Consumption”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of China, Managing Editor English Edition: Daniel Leese. Consulted online on 29 November 2023 <>
First published online: 2008
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004168633, 20121018

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