Marketers must take heed of some curious tendencies among Chinese consumers. Companies marketing to increasingly wealthy Chinese teenagers would be wasting time if they attempted to appeal to their rebelliousness, a survey shows.

Consultant McKinsey reports that many teens are more conservative and nationalistic than their parents.

Market research released at the weekend, after interviews in 6000 Chinese households and detailed talks with 800 teenagers, indicates direct spending on or by urban teenagers in China totals $50billion a year, of which about $10 billion is pocket money.

McKinsey says: "Like urban teens elsewhere in the world, those in China are much more conscious of name brands and fashionable trends than their parents are."

Of the sample, 65 per cent say it is very important to keep up with new fashions, compared with 48 per cent of the adults.

"But this familiar image of a teenager blurs when we asked Chinese teens about their values and behaviour."

For example, 96 per cent of the teenagers say they expect to support their parents during old age, while only 79 per cent of parents anticipate such support from their children. Domestic brands are trusted by 88 per cent of the teenagers, and foreign brands by 65 per cent - which, says McKinsey, "probably reflects a generation whose only experience has been a robust economy with a strong multinational presence and rapidly emerging, successful Chinese companies".

The report says Mengniu Dairy, China's second-biggest dairy company, has successfully combined sentiments of national pride and modernity in its campaigns: "Chinese teens, unlike their Western counterparts, are big consumers of milk and yogurt products."

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