Chinese Pink Markets
Chinese Pink Markets
- Terrie Siang-Ting WongTerrie Siang-Ting WongDepartment of Communication Arts and Sciences, Pennsylvania State University, Brandywine
Starting from the late 20th century, domestic and multinational corporations begun actively promoting their products and services to Chinese tongzhi communities at local LGBTQ events such as the ShanghaiPRIDE, Taiwan Pride Week, and the Hong Kong Pride Parade. In recent years, consumer brands are eager to market themselves as tongzhi friendly, for example, by displaying the pride colors in advertising. In the People’s Republic of China (henceforth PRC and China), businesses are offering services that exclusively serve the needs of Chinese tongzhi, such as overseas wedding packages, travel services, surrogate services, and assisting in permanent overseas migration. In the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (henceforth Hong Kong) and the Republic of China (henceforth Taiwan), the pink market features a well-established network of gay and lesbian disco clubs, bars, and bookstores. In addition to brick-and-mortar businesses, the Chinese pink market also has a strong online presence in the form of gay and lesbian dating apps. In short, the Chinese pink market includes all activities in contemporary Chinese societies that aim to profit from the needs and desires of individuals who experience same-sex attraction.
Research on the Chinese pink markets to date has primarily focused on using a political economy perspective to investigate tongzhi subject formation, specifically focusing on queer subjects as consumers. Aspects of the Chinese pink markets that have been studied include product/service offerings, profit mechanisms, and marketing messages. In contrast to the financial institutions and business owners that promote the pink economy as progress for local tongzhi communities in the form of increased visibility and improved quality of life, there is a distinct ambivalence towards the Chinese pink market amongst the scholarly community. Literature on all three Chinese pink markets—China, Taiwan, and Hong Kong—trouble the notion that tongzhi visibility in the pink economy unequivocally heralds positive social change for local tongzhi subjects. Scholars writing on all three Chinese pink markets are also united in their rejection of a global queering reading of tongzhi subjectivity and subject formation.
Despite these common research trajectories, there are also divergences in the literature on each of the Chinese pink markets. For example, research on the China pink market entails a vibrant debate on what should be the “proper relationship” between tongzhi businesses, LGBTQ NGOs, and the state; these questions are of less interest in research on the Hong Kong and Taiwan pink markets. Given the uniqueness of state regulations as well as the different economic histories and policies of Hong Kong, Taiwan, and China, future research should consider the Chinese pink market as a multi-location, multicultural, and multi-layered site of study with diverse developments in queer identity, consciousness, and politics.
- Gender (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Studies)