Alessandro Duina, co-founder of Prodygia spoke recently with author Stewart Lee Beck about the need for more balanced and relevant Chinese culture content and the genesis of China Simplified.

To view the interview click here. Here is an edited excerpt from their discussion:

What prompted you and your team to start China Simplified?

One of the driving factors behind China Simplified is when you look out there in the media and what’s being talked about with China, the 1% of headlines and hype, those limited number of conversations tend to dominate. The other 99% – what people are like, what it’s like to live here, that the Chinese are essentially humans like everybody else and they have their own perspective on things – are lost. It all comes from this incredible four or five thousand year history and culture with 80 plus dialects that have led some linguists to say there are over 300 living languages spoken within the borders of this country. There is an incredible depth to know, which I suppose explains why it’s so intimidating, why people aren’t able to get into the 99% of the real China.

What kinds of China content are you focusing on? 

On our China Simplified blog, we look at a variety of areas that have to do with culture. First and foremost, the language. What’s interesting about the language and what does it tell us about the people and the culture? History – looking at the pivotal moments of history and the iconic characters and looking at the elements that will tell you something about China today and the world today.And what’s helpful to know in terms of understanding the people, understanding doing business here, understanding interacting with a Chinese traveller, and finding a way to convey all that to people outside China in a time-friendly, engaging format, that respects the fact that everybody’s busy these days.

We’re on the same page there.

That’s what got us started on China Simplified. Our main objective is helping people to get going and to get a basic understanding and take them into the 99% so they really understand what’s going on here.


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