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Globalized Childhood? Kentucky Fried Chicken in Beijing. Transnationalism / Transnational Corporations. The flow of ideas, products, people, capital, & technologies across national boundaries

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transnationalism transnational corporations
Transnationalism /Transnational Corporations
  • The flow of ideas, products, people, capital, & technologies across national boundaries

“increasingly wearing the same kinds of clothes, eating the same kinds of food, reading the same kinds of newspapers, watching the same kinds of television programs, and so on”

  • due to a more integrated global system of production & consumption
kfc catering to beijing children in the 1990s
KFC-Catering to Beijing Children in the 1990s
  • Fast food restaurants like KFC have been especially successful among children in large Chinese urban centers
  • Children are often the deciding factor in a family visiting a fast food industry

Giving clues to their socialization, changes in children's dietary patterns are indicative of changes in their larger social environment

social analyses of transnationalism
Two perspectives

“concrete models of globalization”

-cultural homogeny has been studied from the perspective of the passivity in the adaptation by the host cultures

2. Cultural implications of transnational processes

-underestimate the political asymmetries between nation-states & their ability to define and shape transnational issues

Social Analyses of Transnationalism
social analyses of transnationalism5
Lozada tries to avoid these problems by combining the strengths of both perspectives and focusing on a single transnational organization

Author’s approach:

Examines KFC in a single city, Beijing, understanding how the local society operates

Social Analyses of Transnationalism
slide6
KFC operations have become gradually domesticated from exotic imported food to a familiar type of cuisine
  • This domestication process effects “localization” & how KFC makes innovations and modifications to react to local competition & to understand the importance of children in Urban China
chicky or colonel sanders
Chicky or Colonel Sanders?
  • The first KFC in China opened in 1987 near Tiananmen Square, quickly became the world’s largest fast-food restaurant, seating 500; by 1994 KFC had seven restaurants in Beijing & 21 other restaurants in cities throughout the country
chicky or colonel sanders8
Chicky or Colonel Sanders?
  • In 1994 KFC announced that it was investing an additional $200 million over the next four years to expand the number of KFC restaurants in China to 200
chicky or colonel sanders9
Chicky or Colonel Sanders?
  • KFC also realized like other fast food restaurants that children love eating at its restaurants & are its regular customers; adult customers often visit KFC because their children like it
chicky or colonel sanders10
Chicky or Colonel Sanders?
  • When Chinese children rejected the white-bearded, elderly-looking Colonel Sanders, they adopted a new mascot “Chicky” specifically developed for the Chinese market & introduced there in 1995
  • The chicken encourages children with the motto “renzhen xuexi, kaixin youxi”
chicky or colonel sanders11
Chicky or Colonel Sanders?
  • When Chinese children rejected the white-bearded, elderly-looking Colonel Sanders, they adopted a new mascot “Chicky” specifically developed for the Chinese market & introduced there in 1995
  • The chicken encourages children with the motto “renzhen xuexi, kaixin youxi” (study hard, play hard)
chicky or colonel sanders12
Chicky or Colonel Sanders?
  • “On a Saturday afternoon in the summer of 1995, I visited a KFC restaurant in Dongsi. Inside the foyer, two children crowded around a KFC-uniformed “children’s hostess,” trying to get “flying sticks”– a toy children can spin and make fly. ‘I don’t want a green one, I want the red one!’ one boy shouted” (Lozada)
chicky or colonel sanders13
Chicky or Colonel Sanders?
  • KFC in China had been introducing changes to adapt to local consumer demands
  • Stress hygiene and cleanliness in these new fast food industries
kfc vs glorious china chicken
Ronghuaji

Ronghuaji – a Chinese company competed with KFC

A standard meal is considerably cheaper & the customers get more food, there are also alternatives to chicken on the menu

Both food & service seem more “Chinese”

There were fewer families with children & more groups of young adults eating at the Ronghuaji than at KFC

KFC vs. Glorious China Chicken
kfc vs glorious china chicken15
With the success of the Beijing KFC restaurants, Chinese companies in other major cities such as Shanghai sought to form joint-venture operations with KFC restaurants

Shanghai entrepreneurs went to Beijing to see what was behind the “KFC Fever”

They concluded that the reasons for KFC’s success in Beijing were tied to the region itself

Northerners were used to eating foods similar to the standard KFC fare, such as potatoes & bread

KFC vs. Glorious China Chicken
slide16
They decided to emulate the social & technical practices of KFC, but for Shanghai they would offer fried chicken that was more appealing to the southern Chinese palate
slide17
Ronghuaji’s success in competing with KFC demonstrated that Chinese entrepreneurs could employ Western technology & create an industry with “Chinese characteristics”
slide18
Some claim the origins of fast foods in China date back to thousands of years ago in such foods as stuffed buns (baozi) & glutinous-rice rolls (zongzi)
slide19
Others argue that fast food is an idea wholly imported from the U.S. & is something unique to American culture that has spread throughout the world
working with schools and finding young consumers
Working with Schools and Finding Young Consumers
  • KFC worked to develop partnerships with schools, teachers, & parents
  • KFC sponsors numerous children’s sporting events, essay competitions, & other contests
  • KFC set a one-day sale record on June 1, 1993, International Children's Day
  • John Cranor, the president & chief executive officer of KFC was welcomed by 110 Shanghai school children
working with schools and finding young consumers21
Working with Schools and Finding Young Consumers
  • KFC plays an important role in this stratification of Chinese childhood, meals at fast-food restaurants are considered expensive by average consumers
  • With the enforcement of the one child policy, Chinese parents are willing to spend more money on their “little emperors” (xiao huangdi) for fast-food meals, snacks, & toys