Stephen Green: The Wisdom of China’s Online Crowds

Here is a report analyzing what Chinese citizens are googling about these days:

What are the people of China thinking and feeling? How interested are they in buying a home or equities or a TV? Few things matter more to China’s economy right now, as hopes for sustained growth rest partly upon private consumption holding its own as exports collapse. Economists have long recognised the importance of confidence (or, as Keynes put it, ‘animal spirits’) to consumer and corporate activity. China’s leaders have made instilling public confidence a top priority, a decision that is evident in the local press and TV each day. But how do you measure it?

Discovering what China’s public are actually thinking and feeling is tricky. But the ever-imaginative and solidly geeky folk at Google Labs have provided a new tool called Google Trends (http://www.google.com/insights/search) that allows you to view the number of Google searches for a particular search term over time. What people are Googling is probably a pretty good indication of what they are thinking about – and the more China’s crowds search for information on fridges, cars, apartments, and stocks, the more likely they might be to buy them. With the right search terms, we should be able to track consumer sentiment over time. We lay out our eight findings below.

Please click here to read the report in PDF file.

March 18, 2009 11:06 PM
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