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What is Happiness In China? The Answer May Surprise You

What is happiness? It’s one of the most basic human emotions. The pursuit of it is considered a basic human right, enshrined in the American Declaration of Independence and recognised by the UN as a “fundamental human goal.” But what is it? And is it the same on the other side of the world?

Spoiler Alert: No, it’s not. In fact, the belief that happiness is universal is a common mistake that could impact how you market your  global business. After all, “happiness” is one of the major emotions that marketers appeal to. Here are some examples of how happiness varies across cultures, and some tips to avoid this common international marketing pitfall.

Why Happiness Gets Lost in Translation

Why is “happiness” so hard to translate?  To start, it’s more difficult than you’d think to define it, even in English. Sure, Merriam-Webster may define it as “the state of being happy.” But if it were that easy, the self-help industry wouldn’t be raking in billions of dollars, would it?  In the pop culture of the English-speaking world, it’s been described as everything from a warm puppy to a warm gun.

So, what is happiness? Even sociologists who study happiness for a living have had trouble creating a definition that translates easily to other languages and other cultures. As the Washington Post points out, that’s the trouble with all the studies that claim to have identified the “happiest countries,” usually Denmark. The definition of happiness may have been lost in translation:

Some researchers say the reason is that happiness in Danish is often translated as lykke — a term that can describe a kind of everyday well-being that might be brought on by a nice cup of coffee or a slice of bread with cheese.”

Although now that I think about it, good coffee and good cheese make me a very happy girl, and I’m not even Danish. What is happiness? Is there more to it than that? I’m not sure.

In most languages, there are a variety of possible translations for “happiness.” Each one carries its own shades of meaning, and often none of them match the English definition exactly. For example, researchers studying happiness in China used three different words in surveys and interviews, “xingfu for a good life, you yiyi for meaning and kuaile for a good mood.” Read more

11 Thought-Provoking Social Media and International Marketing Statistics for 2016

For businesses, social media is an opportunity to connect with existing and potential customers around the world. But do you know enough to use it effectively? If you think a “one country fits all” social strategy is enough, think again. Here are 11 statistics about social media around the world to fuel your international marketing campaigns:

Asia now has more internet users than Western Europe and North America put together.

International Marketing Takeaways:Planning to market your business in Asia? The internet is your friend. Localised social media should be part of your marketing strategy. That means targeting content to local languages and preferences. It may also mean developing a presence on local social networks.  These networks can rival or exceed Western giants like Facebook in some markets.  Read more