James Watson’s McDonald’s in Hong Kong is a textbook example of globalization. According to Webster’s dictionary, globalization is defined as “worldwide integration and development”. In McDonald’s in Hong Kong, Watson discusses a well-known and successful American fast food chain migrating over seas and embedding itself in the Hong Kong culture. Although Hong Kong was already recognized as an extremely transnational civilization, there were worries that the country would lose cultural identity. The fears were that Hong Kong would become more Americanized and lessen their ties to the Cantonese ways.
Watson proves that the uncertainties of if Hong Kong would be able to stand true to their heritage is nothing to worry about. He states that the people of Hong Kong “have most assuredly not been stripped of their cultural heritage”. In fact, Watson explains that Hong Kong is not being taken over by the American way, but is simply embracing their already heterogeneous culture. Through his discussions on the changing views of the food, dining customs, and traditions we learn that McDonald’s was forced to adapt to the culture of Hong Kong just as much as the people of Hong Kong needed to expand their familiarities to accept McDonalds.
One of the most influential concepts that Watson brings up is that “transnational is the local”. Through this argument Watson proposes that the local environment is a culturally diverse concoction of multiple nations. In the case of Hong Kong, McDonalds is not the only American fad that they are familiar with. People, especially the younger generations are culturally versed on cuisine from all over the world. They have knowledge of multiple nation’s music, fashion, entertainment, and customs. There is no one experience of globalization”. The expanding culture and knowledge of the people of Hong Kong is proof to that. The globalization of McDonald’s is definitely a different experience than the globalization of sneakers or smart cars.
Not only is Hong Kong a center for the encompassing a multitude of transnational cultures, it is also a hub for the production of transnational culture. Hong Kong spreads its trendy culture into China, Southeast Asia, Vietnam, Japan, Los Angeles, and more. Their music, fashion style, and their production and dissemination of satellite television prove to be quite popular.
Having knowledge of and experiencing things from other cultures does not necessarily mean that you lose focus on your culture. Hong Kong still holds true to their unique customs and traditions. Grandparents, who traditionally play a large role in their grandchildren’s lives, still take them to afternoon tea. A proper meal is considered something with rice on the menu. Watson proclaims that even though McDonald’s restaurants in Hong Kong are wall-to-wall packed with people there are only a few that are “seeking an American cultural experience”. Today, McDonald’s is no longer a new American craze; it has become a “local...