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Contextual influences on marketing and consumerism: an East Asian perspective

Wenkai Zhou (Department of Marketing, University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, Oklahoma, USA)
Zhilin Yang (School of Management and Economics, North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power, Zhengzhou, China) (Department of Marketing, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong)
Michael R. Hyman (Department of Marketing, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 23 June 2021

Issue publication date: 22 July 2021




This study aims to summarize the important contextual influences East Asian philosophy may have on marketing strategy and consumerism.


A qualitative approach is used to deconstruct (1) the literature on marketing as a contextual discipline, (2) East Asian philosophical underpinnings and their personal and institutional manifestations in East Asian marketing contexts, and (3) the implications for non-East Asian marketers. This essay includes a brief introduction to the manuscripts in this special issue.


Ancient philosophical wisdom shared by East Asian societies can shed light on how marketing activities and consumer behavior intertwine within East Asia and beyond. Three ancient philosophies (i.e. Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism) heavily influence East Asian societies through personal and institutional-level cultural manifestations in marketing contexts.

Research limitations/implications

Although the three discussed East Asian philosophical schools are not exhaustive, they lay a foundation for future discussions about how alternative marketing-related theories and frameworks may complement ones grounded in western historical and cultural contexts.


This essay initiates an overdue academic discussion about relying on non-western historical and cultural contexts to globalize the marketing discipline further.



This piece has been included as an introduction to the special issue and, as such, has not been subject to double-blind peer review.

Funding: This work was supported by the grant from the Research Grant Council of Hong Kong SAR (CityU 11502218).


Zhou, W., Yang, Z. and Hyman, M.R. (2021), "Contextual influences on marketing and consumerism: an East Asian perspective", International Marketing Review, Vol. 38 No. 4, pp. 641-656.



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