Cutting Through the Commercialization of Culture

Written by Sean Callahan 

Tourists often spend thousands of dollars to explore China and the culture of its many ethnic groups. However, the more inexperienced travelers sometimes fall prey to the increasing commercialization of culture tourism. Nowadays, smiling ladies dressed in brightly colored costumes standing outside of stores and menus with more expensive prices for foreigners are commonplace. It is part of a trend whereby businesses and even whole towns use traditions to upsell their product and charge foreigners a premium.

What Ithe Commercialization of Culture? 

Often, people from outside a minority culture see it as an opportunity to make money instead of an opportunity to spread the traditions of the people. As a result, visitors get an experience which centers around things like souvenirs and performances that are designed to sell, not to teach. Visitors may leave a place like the Yunnan Ethnic Village with an understanding of minority culture which has been adjusted to make it more ‘touristy’. 

While there are people who benefit from this commercialization, it is usually not the minority groups which do so. They are put in the unfortunate situation of having to choose between their culture and a livelihood which could help them support their families. As a result, they participate in this realm of increasingly financially-based tourism without reaping most of the benefits it produces. 

Why Should You Care About Getting Authentic Cultural Experiences? 

One of the most captivating aspects of cultural items and experiences is their ability to provide the consumer with a window into another person’s life. Authentic culture transports people across large distances and often back in time to experience a unique way of life. When cultural items are produced for economic reasons however, it stops telling the true story of the culture. 

How Can You Get the Most Out of Culture? 

The reality of the matter is most people don’t know how to distinguish between authentic culture and commercialized culture which means they risk spending money with deceitful corporations instead of real people. One way to avoid this problem is to work with a knowledgeable company which can navigate you through the minefield of commodified culture. A company which is well versed in culture can set up meaningful experiences like a homestay with a Tibetan family or ensure the art pieces you buy are made in the same tradition they were hundreds of years ago. 

A Pool of Experts Who Care for Culture, and People too. 

Here at Interact China, we work hand-in-hand with craftspeople from ethnic minority communities to bring their traditional crafts directly to you. Many of our partners come from families with centuries of experience creating cultural artifacts and others are respected masters of their craft. When you purchase from Interact China, you not only support these artisans and their culture but also guarantee that the product you are receiving is not tainted by unnecessary commercialization. We deal in authenticity and tradition so you can be free to connect with the piece and experience its allure without worrying about extraneous concerns. 

About Interact China 

“A Social Enterprise in E-commerce Promoting Oriental Aesthetic Worldwide!”  

Aileen & Norman co-founded Interact China in 2004 with specialization in fine Oriental Aesthetic products handmade by ethnic minorities & Han Chinese. Having direct partnerships with artisans, designers, craft masters and tailors, along with 13 years of solid experience in e-commerce via, we are well positioned to bridge talented artisans in the East with the rest of the world, and directly bring you finely selected products that are of good quality and aesthetic taste. 

So far we carry 3000+ goods covering Ladies Fashion via, Kungfu Fashion, Home Furnishings, Babies & Kids, Painting Arts, Textile Arts, Carving Arts, Tribal Jewelry Art, Wall Masks and Musical Instruments. Our team speak English, French, German, Spanish and Italian, and serve customers worldwide with passion and hearts. 

P.S. We Need People with Similar Passion to Join Our Blogging Team!  
If you have passion to write about Oriental Aesthetic in Fashion, Home Decor, Art & Crafts, Culture, Music, Books, and Charity, please contact us at, we would love to hear from you!