The pursuit of well-being: a new chapter for China’s youth

A ten-day online community with 20 youngsters revealed key opportunities for finance brands in the health and well-being space.

Girl with right arm in the air
Girl with right arm in the air

Scott Lee

29 June 2023

5 min read


One of the most resonant trends in our What Matters 2023 report is ‘Interconnected Well-being’; our growing awareness of how different factors interconnect and impact our well-being.​ But what does this really mean? In what ways are people thinking more holistically about ‘health’? In Hong Kong in particular, well-being is definitely on the menu, but are we getting it right?


Well-being talks on the Younite community

In the finance industry we see an increased interest in everything related to ‘health & well-being’. HSBC Hong Kong launched a health and wellness app with personalised lifestyle recommendations, Bupa Hong Kong offers the Bupa4Life app with wellness classes and health tips, and Hang Seng introduced Olive, a health app serving as a wellness platform. And with the increasing number of cross-border visitors from the Mainland, Hong Kong banks and insurers are curious about how they can cater for these people’s needs to access high-quality healthcare services in the city.

So, as part of our recent Human Finance event in Hong Kong we invited 20 young people from the Greater Bay Area (GBA) in Chinato talk about well-being in our pop-up online insight community to advance our understanding of their needs and opportunities for finance brands in Hong Kong.


Younite community screenshot


By using creatively designed activities we got below the surface on what interconnected well-being means to young people in China. Here are some examples:

  • Collage – asking people to share images that represents how they feel about the topic of well-being.
  • Diary – a four day diary that captures real-time moments and experiences that bring people joy or challenges their well-being
  • A letter to your younger self – having people write a letter about the things they wish they knew when they were younger and that might have changed their destiny

Next to the human power of our consultants our new ChatGPT research assistant, built into our online insight communities, also helped us analyse the key themes from these exercises, resulting in eight sacrificial concepts to test.  Such early-stage concepts help us to probe further on emerging needs, rather than being intended solutions yet.


Research program overview


So, what did we find out?

In recent years young people in Mainland China have been ‘lying flat’, opting out of the rat race, or adopting a ‘45-Degree Life’ prioritizing wellness and balance over the gruelling ‘996’ work culture (9:00 am to 9:00 pm, 6 days per week).

Across the 10 days of community activities, we identified which unpacked a new well-being chapter for China’s young people, underpinning the interconnected well-being trend we had seen in our global trend report.

  1. From fast to slow. The first one is a shift in pace. Gone is the interest in energetic fitness regimes. Instead, people are focusing on peacefulness, slowing down and getting good quality sleep, taking things slower. The Younite members responded well to one of our concepts on sleep – a sleep wellness community where people could share tips, experiences, and support each other in achieving better rest.
  2. From hard work on health to moments of indulgence. People expressed how they are being less demanding of themselves. Rather than working hard to be healthy, they are looking for joy in the simple things in life, prioritizing personal contentment.

“I have learned to think more about myself, make arrangements for myself, do more things to make myself happier, follow my heart”.

  1. From high expectations to personal enrichment. Being less demanding doesn’t mean standing still. Many still feel it’s important to do things that are enriching and help them grow as a person, whether that’s connecting with different cultures around the world, or learning a new hobby. It is about personal enrichment on their terms. A concept that well-received and links to this shift is the Financial Wellness Community – a platform where individuals with the same hobbies and interests can connect and discuss market updates, insurance options, and financial goals.
  2. From diets to a more holistic, mindful experience and appreciation of food. Food has always been close to the hearts of Chinese people and our community members shared how they are becoming more interested in the origins of their food. For example, they embraced a concept from-farm-to-table, they want to increase their knowledge on nutritional value and learn how to cook with fresh (unprocessed), organic ingredients.

“Understand and take part in the overall process of turning ingredients into a dish; also, I can cook with others and exchange cooking tips, may even invent new dishes together as well.”

  1. From popularity to building deepening, meaningful connections and network. Above all what stood out is the importance of social connections. Members talked about heart-to-heart conversations and nurturing friendships around topics of interest. For some companionship came from their pets at home. But many want to enrich their network and make friends in their visits to Hong Kong. A concept that taps into this shift and was positively received is the Hong Kong Wellness Gateway – an information channel/ app showcasing the latest activities, events, and places in Hong Kong to improve spiritual health, mindfulness, and well-being.

“While Hong Kong and Shenzhen is just next to each other, our understanding about Hong Kong is shallow – we only know about where to go shopping. I want to get to connect with like-minded HK people and make friends with them.

Ultimately some of the most resonant concepts we tested revealed the opportunity for brands in Hong Kong to create well-being among customers through shared interests, friendship and of course love of food.


Project concepts


Eventually, 4 of the 20 community members joined our event in Hong Kong to share their perspectives live on stage and bringing these insights to life for the different brands in the audience.


Hong Kong event


Is it money or love that makes the world go round? Maybe for our finance clients and their cross-border customers it should be a little bit of both.

Curious about what this means for your brand? Check out how online insight communities connect you with the people that matter to your brand to drive impact – on well-being or any other topic.


Let’s connect

Just say hello…