BEIJING: Brands must understand that women in China are becoming more empowered in their careers and moving away from traditional choices about issues like marriage and family, a report has argued.

A study from Starcom MediaVest Group, entitled WOMEN, used both qualitative and quantitative methods as it surveyed more 11,000 women at different life stages in 26 cities across Greater China.

"We firmly believe that in the coming years, women of all ages will continue to drive the greatest changes to the region's culture, society and how we approach the marketing of products and brands that they may buy," said Bertilla Teo, CEO of Starcom MediaVest Group Greater China.

"There is certainly no one message for all women and we must keep our fingers on the pulse to sense and respond to new behaviour changes as they emerge," she added.

Career women were identified as a significant group. Up to 30% of senior management positions within companies are occupied by women while female entrepreneurship is widespread in mainland China, driven by a desire for financial independence.

"It's still a man's world, but women are making their own rules," Tess Caven, human experience strategy director of North Asia at Starcom, told Campaign Asia-Pacific. She suggested that brands had a role to play in helping empower women, both as entrepreneurs and consumers.

They could, for example, help would-be businesswomen with financial advice and business planning as well as supplying spaces where they could connect with other and exchange ideas. And they could teach female consumers how to rise to the top with confidence.

The study also looked at the increased propensity of the older generation of women to use digital devices and shop online and questioned whether their role as a brand ambassador or gatekeeper had been undervalued.

Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific, Starcom MediaVest; additional content by Warc staff