The ‘tipping point’
There’s a lot of talk about the opportunity for Chinese tourists and implementing your marketing campaigns directly in China, however, what is often overlooked is a huge opportunity for businesses to engage with the Chinese community here in Australia.
People with Chinese ancestry represent a large and growing audience right here in Australia. According to the 2016 census, there are 1.2 million people with Chinese ancestry living in our nation, up from 557,000 in 2001. That’s a 115% growth rate from 2001 to 2016, and it’s unlikely to slow down.
In addition to sheer size and growth, Chinese migrants tend to have high disposable income combined with well exposed and informed, new middle-class mindsets. We are now at the tipping point where this is an audience that businesses can’t afford to ignore.
Chinese in Australia are a very diverse group. We are talking about a mix of Chinese who are born in mainlaind China, Taiwan, Hong Kong or South East Asia. Of the 1.2 million, over half are born in mainland China but that number has boosted since 2008. This shift has had a profound impact in shaping the local Chinese consumer landscape.
But don’t just jump in headfirst, rather give your China strategy a fair go
Any good marketing starts with good strategy and an understanding of your consumers, and marketing to Chinese in Australia is no different. It’s not just a case of getting on WeChat. One size does not fit all!
Obvious differences not so obvious
One of the key barriers for the new Chinese migrants is to navigate through the social system in Australia. There are some fundamental differences in our social and government systems that are extremely challenging for this cohort. For example, the concept of self-service is new to Chinese immigrants; many terminologies such as ‘excess fees’, and ‘out of pocket’ are alien to Chinese migrants even when translated into Chinese.
Chinese, like many Asian cultures, are very collective. There are many unspoken/subtle rules which apply day-to-day as well as in business. Cultural appropriation and its application in marketing activation is one of the key challenges that many brands and organisations are facing.
4 in 5 do not speak English as their first language at home. In fact, based on our research half of our Chinese migrants would “like to see more Australian companies communicate in Chinese”. Other main challenges for brands include how to best articulate an idea/message in the context of a different language. From many studies we have conducted, we know that the risk of getting it wrong can have a long-term effect on the brand, particularly the sensitivities around tone.
Different communication platforms.
Chinese are generally very switched on when it comes to technology and social media platforms. Most importantly, they favour non-mainstream media platforms. Tech giants such as Tencent, Alibaba and a handful of others, enable Chinese in any part of the world to stay close to what’s happening at home. This means they not only consume the same information as the Chinese in China, they also influence and shape perceptions of brands to the Chinese in China. There is a symbiotic relationship with both the local and native Chinese, seeking to validate their authenticity with one another.
Different brand aspirations.
Australians generally emphasise value for money whereas the Chinese place a high value on the trust and credibility of the brand.
So, how well do you understand the Chinese audience in order for your brand and business to address these differences? How are you using this knowledge to shape your China strategy?
Yes, it is a no brainer to target the 1.4 million Chinese tourists to Australia each year, who spent $11.7 billion here in 2018. However, marketing opportunities diminish when these tourists leave the country. The question then is, which cohort gives you a more sustainable and longer-term return?
The rapidly growing Chinese population in Australia presents an enormous opportunity for Australian businesses. But more businesses still need to develop the skills and knowledge required to capitalise on the opportunity.
Over the next few months, we will be discussing a few hot topics raised by our clients: Customer journey differences, impact on parallel economy, is KOL still a viable channel? Could I just translate my current website? Keep an eye on the Bastion Insights blog or join our CCI mailing list!