On the U5 CREATIVE EXPEDITION Charlotte Bufler is exploring creativity in different cultures and hotspots. How important is creativity for the business, the society in America, Asia, Europe. In Beijing she met JJ Xie, founder of DONGDAO, one of the most successful design-agencies in China. Charlotte talked to JJ Xie with the help of swiss-born Fabian Furrer, President oft he international department at DONGDAO.
Mr Xie, how important is design and creativity in China?
Chinese design and creativity – that’s a very tough topic. China is probably still lacking behind. But we know the challenge. In terms of aesthetics we can be on eye level. With our aesthetic quality here in China we can match with the western creatives. No doubt.
So – the problem is the creative thinking?
We can talk about a gap concerning outstanding creative ideas and concepts for sure. But that is not a question of talent. Of course Chinese people have creative talent. It is a question of quantity. There are not enough very outstanding-thinking, outstandingly educated creative people in China. Not yet.
Just a question of time?
If you compare it to soccer - football - German soccer has so many outstanding players and a wonderful team due to fantastic basic work throughout the country. Soccer is part of the German society. Creativity, the creative champions league in China, just started. It is in its infancy, but it will grow. Grow with all the challenges and opportunities. So it’s like a catch-up-thing right now. Fascinating and exciting because there are so many opportunities to come.
China is the biggest market on earth ...
Yes. And of course, to talk soccer-ish again, we have a home advantage here. For foreign designers, or foreign creatives, it is very hard to understand what Chinese culture is all about. It’s very difficult to get very deep into how people feel and how they see certain things - how creativity is able to reach their heart. It is not copy-paste from western creative thinking.
So one has to combine.
At my company, DONGDAO creative branding group, we try to bring the best of both worlds together. Western methods and know-how and the eastern way of thinking. Looks like that is a successful way. Clients love us and juries as well - since 2014 we won lots of new clients and over 200 international design awards.
The aim of all creative agencies – fame, fun and money.
Give us some time. The whole creative industry started to change in the last 10 years. 10 years ago it was not so easy to acquire information and learn about design, especially for young designers. But since some 10 years, since the victory of the internet and of digitalization, people can easily know what’s going on abroad. They can learn, they can catch up. They will.
You established a design academy at DONGDAO
Yes. Because one of my personal objectives is to help young people in short and the creative business, the society, in long term. For the young generation there is no real border anymore. This generation, born after 1990, grew up with smartphones and the internet. In the US, in France, in China. Borders? We’re in an age that’s open for anything. Just an open space. A flow of information. Nowadays the digital era changes things drastically – and nobody teaches us how to do this. Not in the western world nor in the eastern. It is a big experiment of trial and error. Giving all designers, all creatives the same chance. Worldwide.
The next century – the century of Chinese creativity?
We are hungry and happy to grab the chance. But we will not forget our 6000 years of cultural development. 6000 years of creativity bringing some innovations that already changed the world. Like noodles, dynamite, beer.
Mr. Xie, thank you for your time.
Mr. Furrer, thank you for your help.