Sell Cuteness in China

Under many years of Japanese manga and emojis influence, cute Chinese character designs are showing up everywhere in China since 1980. “Being cute” has slowly become the Chinese new culture. It is not just being used for kids’ stuff. Even for dating and marriage, many Chinese man like to find a cute girl rather than a sexy girl also because “being cute” is more culturally acceptable in China.”“ (cute) is the word Chinese use to describe “being cute” until recently Chinese netizens started to use a new word “” (Meng) as web slang. “” literally means “sprout”. When I moved back from Canada to China, this is the first Internet slang I learned from my friends.

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Meng (In Chinese) = Cute


Chinese like to repeat the same word twice to make it a cuter word. For example, Chinese say the word “dog” as “Gou”. But when you say “Gou Gou” it still means the “dog”. But it is a cute way to say.


Learn a Chinese Phrase: “Selling Cuteness”

Even the CCTV Anchorwoman tried to “Sell Cuteness” in News, but unfortunately that video has been deleted.

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CCTV Anchorwoman ‘Sells Cuteness’, Charms Chinese Netizens

Brand marketing

Many brands have adopted this new local culture into their brands marketing. Recently agency JWT Shanghai combined cute rabbit with selfles and AR to remote Sofy‘s sanitary pad. Their target market is 18-24 year old Chinese women.

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Sofy: “Pocket Magic” AR app

“Chinese consumers who purchase “Pocket Magic” can use the app to scan the product, and unlock a set of interactive animations of Sofy’s cute and mischievous mascots, Su and Fei. The characters pop up in surprising ways to enhance your selfies, which can be shared with friends on Weibo or WeChat. Women can also use the calendar tool to set up reminders on their menstruation cycle, so they’re never caught without a pad again.

Over 2 million women visited the Pocket Magic website, and 280,000 downloaded the app, in the first month after the campaign launch in August. The women who have downloaded the app have used it, on average, more than 10 times, marking a brand new type of engagement with a sanitary pad.”  - Full article 


Xiao Yang Dumpling New Flavour Ad in metro; with cute characters, QR code and WeChat payment support

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Metro instruction: in case there is explosion and fire in the metro

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China Mobile Ad: promote Jing Dong Store anniversary

In the article The power of cuteness Tzu-i Chuang in depth analyze the cuteness phenomenon in TaiWan. “The cuteness craze began to spark public discussions in the summer of 1999, when McDonalds in Taiwan started offering stuffed dolls of Hello Kitty at reduced price for their customers. “The campaign immediately boosted McDonalds’s business and sent enormous crowds, mostly women and children, to the fast food restaurants all over the island. Fearing that the discounted Hello Kitty dolls would soon sell out, people in the cities lined up for entry into McDonalds even before daybreak.”

I remembered when McDonalds first opened in Shanghai in 90′s, adults lined up for more than 1 hour for those cute gifts.

Social Media

“Before the mass-adoption of emojis, the smileys available in most Western apps were direct graphical equivalents of traditional text emoticons, with perhaps 15 or so in common use.

But here, QQ long ago set the standard for graphical emoticons. Its set of 80-someodd icons is wonderfully expressive and versatile, even compared to emojis.” — Dang Rover’s blog: Chinese mobile app UI trends

Many Chinese apps also have lot of cute mascots in the loading and error screens.

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Chinese apps also use animated stickers and emotional icons to reflect users’ personality. For example WeChat, a social media app, allows user to download more free animated cute characters.

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WeChat’s stickers gallery image

Besides the cute ones, there are some very cool edgy design and animations. Even many people say Chinese only good at copy designs. I believe it is only a matter of time. From the improvement of graphic design and animation, Chinese designers are catching up.

bajada, horse image


Chinese young generation is facing the conflict of fitting in the society and expressing their own unique personality. Generally speaking, the Chinese born in 80′s want to be different than others while Chinese born in 90′s want to live their passion. Of course these kind of catagorization can not represent everyone. Majority of these two group of people play games to express themselves in cute cartoon characters. In Chinese game designs, it is important to make the characters cuter.

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Chinese Mobile Game character Design


“Chunlong Sun, a photographer and digital retoucher from Beijing, China had some fun with this little personal project. A series of images featuring world-renowned dictators clutching plushies gives them a tender side we all wish they truly had. The juxtaposition between the face of evil and a cuddly stuffed animal makes these serious portraits instantly humorous.” — Evil Clutching Cuteness Gives Dictators A Soft Side.

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Evil Clutching Cuteness Gives Dictators A Soft Side

Cuteness sell in China! Works at many levels. But still you need to think if it fits your brand.

What does the Cuteness mean to you?

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