Zak Dychtwald

China Expert, Millennial Explorer, & Cultural Futurist
Zak Dychtwald
  • Author of the highly-praised book, Young China: How the Restless Generational Will Change Their Country and the World
  • Founding CEO of Young China Global Group – a think tank and consultancy designed to create understanding about Eastern and Western millennials
  • Analyzes how the rise of Young China will impact your marketplace, your workplace, and your life, defining opportunities in technology, consumption, and branding

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Zak Dychtwald is a lifelong fan of interesting people, big ideas, great food, new adventures, science fiction, and religious meaning. A writer, consultant, and public speaker, he has traveled extensively throughout five continents to explore what makes people and cultures tick while searching for glimpses into the future.

After graduating from Columbia University in 2012, he moved to China to explore the country and get to know China’s young people on their own turf. Over the next four years, through living in tenements, hostels, and high rises, traveling thousands of miles throughout both the Eastern megacities as well as China’s developing interior, interviewing locals from Guangzhou to Chengdu to Shangri-La, Zak realized that the China we talk about in the West is far different than the new futuristic China he saw emerging.

When the world talks about China, the focus is usually on the past: Old stereotypes, old politics, old traditions, and the older generations. But China’s future is being determined right now by their Millennials. In their lifetime, these young people have witnessed: The Internet open China up to the world, a massive longevity boom coupled with a baby bust creating a 4-2-1 demography, and surging capitalist success directed by their “Communist” government. While their parents were consumed with survival questions around food, housing, and subsistence, young China is asking: Who do we want to be? How do we want to live? What should be the purpose of money? What will China’s role be in the 21st century? He covers this and much more in his first book, Young China: How the Restless Generational Will Change Their Country and the World, which is already receiving high praise.

Through his writing, speaking, and consulting, Zak’s overarching goal is to enrich and advance the way the world understands China. He has recently relocated to New York City where he is the Founding CEO of the Young China Global Group—a think tank and consultancy designed to create understanding about Eastern and Western millennials for individuals, companies, and governments. A fluent Mandarin speaker, he spends a third of the year in China.

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Speaker Video

China’s New Innovation Advantage

Zak Dychtwald Speaker Reel

Zak Dychtwald: The Impact of Chinese Millennials

Zak Dychtwald On Young China

A Boomer/Millennial Smackdown With Ken and Zak Dychtwald

China’s New Reality. China faced repeated lockdowns during the pandemic, reducing travel in and out of the country to a trickle. Meanwhile, the government was also shifting its longer-term economic and social policies. As China reopens, how much has society and the country’s approach to the rest of the world changed?

Post-Covid Young China - The New State of Chinese Consumption, Collaboration, and Competition

Come March, it will be time to take stock of what this Post-Covid chapter for China will look like.

Will Young China be the consumer engine they were before COVID? For areas like travel and luxury, it less a question of “what?” - an enormous release of pent up demand - and more a question of “when?” For other consumer sectors, the answers are less obvious after a year of an on-again-off-again economy that has left more young people counting their RMB than getting ready to splurge. 

March also marks the newsworthy National People’s Congress, where the political agenda for the next stretch will be defined and Xi Jinping will likely be fully confirmed as China’s next General Secretary.

Potential questions to address:

  • What do these protests mean and how has COVID impacted Young China’s view of their government?
  • How has China’s middle class fared during this extended restrictive period?
  • How is consumer confidence after the last year of shut- and slow-down?
  • What are young people craving after nearly three years of COVID restrictions?
  • How will the National People’s Congress this March define the regulatory 5-year future for China?
  • What new workforce considerations are there, and will young people return to the high-pressure 1st tier city lifestyle they sought before?
  • How are new competitive dynamics and “re-globalization” impacting China’s prospects?


Young China Rising in a Complex World: Consumer, Competition, Collaborator. While much of the Western world remains mired in a half-on/half-off limbo, offices, restaurants, retail spaces, and even night clubs are filling up in China. But not all sectors have rebounded equally, and the young generation’s outlook on consumption, work, and government has been impacted to its core. In this keynote, Zak explores how young China – the engine of China’s consumer and innovation economies – has reacted to recent events and how they are shaping up as global consumer, competitor, and collaborator.
This Session Will Explore:
  • Was it seen as "worth it" in this new world? How has young China's financial outlook, retail, travel, and education been impacted by the pandemic? What habits changed in the short term, and what shifts might become the new normal?
  • How resilient were young Chinese entrepreneurs in reacting to the "New Normal"? Case Studies. 
  • How have attitudes towards government both their own and the US – changed as China looks toward the future? Is nationalism still a social and consumer theme? How has it evolved?
  • What lessons can we learn from the "near future" of China's reopening for the global consumer?


The Young China Opportunity: Myths and Realities Impacting All Global Business. China is nearly impossible to know from the outside, and most organizations are limited by stereotypes around ‘old China’ and a focus on government. In this keynote, Zak pushes audiences to get past the headlines and really get to know Chinese millennials on the ground level. Outnumbering American millennials by 5x, Young China is redefining every market they touch. Zak’s insight into the people, culture, and systems are a must-understand for global businesses and Investors.
This Session Will Explore:
  • Key myths that blind investors and media to the realities of China's biggest consumer class. 
  • How growing up at "China Speed" influences spending habits, attitudes toward new technology, family society, and government. 
  • What Chinese Millennials want that is different in their products and workplace. 


From Imitation to Innovation: How Will Young China Compete with the US? Can China’s young people be innovative? This is the question defining China’s future. Zak debunks the stereotypes of ‘Copycat China’ and provides a deep dive into China’s emerging innovative firepower. In this keynote, Zak focuses on the social psychology of innovation that could tip the scales in China’s favor in the coming decade. Based on his upcoming Harvard Business Review feature, Zak takes you to the trenches of the country’s tech and investment scene to look at how China is becoming a world-class innovator.

This Session Will Explore:

  • How China today stacks up as a global engine of innovation. 
  • For China's Millennials, how a lifetime of rapid growth leads to a hyper-adaptive and adoptive innovation ecosystem. 
  • The cutting-edge companies and ideas that are coming from China today. 
  • Innovation education and shifting systems of thought in China. 
  • How China's generation gulfs impact world perception. 

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