Influence of American Pop Culture on China

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From fashion trends to Hollywood, American pop culture has heavily influenced traditional Chinese culture over the past several decades. Meanwhile, China's youth appears to be playing catch-up with the West's popular culture since the country's restrictive laws began to relax.

Fast Food

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The fast-food chain Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) is the most recognised global brand among consumers in China, "Time" magazine's Carlye Adler wrote in November 2003. In a country that was a stranger to Western fast-food chains, the company capitalised on the novelty and luxury of an American restaurant combined with convenience to win the loyalty of Chinese customers. KFC has even created a popular icon mascot named "Chicky," a fluffy chicken, to gain the affection of children.


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Western clothing began to become popular in China in the late 19th century and early 20th century. In the late '70s when communist clothing standards began to disappear, Western pop culture influenced clothing like jeans and novelty T-shirts to become popular among Chinese youth. As of July 2010, American brands like adidas and Nike dominate the Chinese sneaker market, and Beijing now has its own Western-style "fashion week" showcasing the talent of various international top designers.


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Similar to how China's fashion scene was influenced by Western pop culture, the Chinese music scene began to erupt as an aftermath of the country's cultural revolution. Peter Foster of London's Daily Telegraph wrote in November 2009 that China's rising alternative rock scene is highly influenced by Western bands such as the Clash and the Cure. Modern Chinese pop, known as "C-Pop," is heavily influenced by Western pop music as well.


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According to the official website of the Chinese Embassy in Nepal, Hollywood movies such as the "Harry Potter" series and "Finding Nemo" are extremely popular among Chinese youth. Technically spectacular Western movies lure Chinese viewers in greater numbers than locally produced movies. Additionally, Chinese actors such as Jackie Chan and Zhang Zhiyun of "Crouching Tiger and Hidden Dragon" are highly acclaimed in China because of their Hollywood status.


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There's been speculation that the influences of Western pop culture in China has had negative effects on the country's traditions and morals. The rising popularity of fast-food chains has increased the rate of obesity among Chinese kids, and according to the Chinese Embassy's website, Western practices such as sexual liberation are influencing Chinese youth. Some fear that Chinese youth's unconditional acceptance of Western pop culture will lead to a degradation of morals.