Diversity Marketing as Strategy: Jaime Christian on Targeting Chinese consumers in Canada
Over the past few weeks, we discussed the basics of ethnic marketing. Now we’ll examine the fastest growing segment of the population within Canada. It’s a segment so big that they can no longer be ignored.
Chinese Canadians are the largest ethnic group in the country. According to the 2006 census, there are 1.35 million Canadians claiming Chinese heritage – the vast majority of these being first-generation immigrants. About 30,000 more Chinese immigrants have arrived each year since 2006.
They are geographically concentrated, with 47 per cent located in Ontario and 34 per cent in British Columbia. The vast majority are located in just two cities, 72 per cent live in Toronto (436,000) and Vancouver (348,000). This is an opportunity worthy of a business owner’s time to understand and pursue.
Not a heterogeneous market…
However, Chinese-Canadians are not a heterogeneous market. The largest source regions are:
- Mainland China (45 per cent)
- Hong Kong (30 per cent)
- Taiwan (10 per cent)
- Macau and unwilling to disclose (15 per cent)
Understanding the cultural and historical differences of each group will help you create effective and applicable marketing campaigns. The chart below summarizes just one aspect of the complexity of diversity in the Chinese Canadian market — written or spoken language:
|Origin Region||Spoken Dialect||Written Language|
|Mainland China||Mandarin||Simplified Chinese|
|Hong Kong||Cantonese||Traditional Chinese|
|Macau||Mainly Cantonese, but also Portuguese||Traditional Chinese|
|Taiwan||Mandarin and Taiwanese||Traditional Chinese|
* Simplified Chinese characters usually use fewer brush strokes than Traditional Chinese syntax, although grammar is similar
Businesses should consider reaching out through cultural specific media:
- 55 per cent watche cultural specific TV programming everyday
- 24 per cent read cultural specific print everyday
- 63 per cent speak a non-official language at home, while almost 20 per cent speak a non-official language at work.
- 61 per cent would like to see more companies advertise specifically to their community
The majority of these immigrants have entered the country under the economic immigrant class. Despite this, Chinese immigrants tend to drift towards educational extremes with both 12 per cent of the population having less than a grade 9 education and 27 per cent having more than a bachelor’s degree. Of those with a bachelor’s degree, the main areas of study were:
- Commerce Management & Business Administration (26 per cent)
- Engineering & Applied Sciences (14 per cent)
- Mathematics & Physical Sciences (12 per cent)
Chinese Canadians spend 62 per cent more on education compared to the Canadian average, which signifies the importance to this group. If you have an education business, this is an opportunity not to be missed!
Spending & Assets
Chinese Canadians spends $34.6 Billion a year and have a higher saving rate than average Canadians – they save 24 per cent of their disposable income. Almost half of Chinese Canadians (48 per cent) have investible assets of $50k or more compared to only 36 per cent of Canadians.
If you are in the financial services industry, their ability to save and their amount of assets should attract your attention.
In two weeks, we’ll further discuss and evaluate strategies that companies have employed to target the Chinese Canadian market.
Jaime Christian is an Associate of Altus Strategy Group, a consulting firm that helps businesses solve their marketing and strategy issues. He is part of the Ethnic Marketing practice – helping clients understand and target this lucrative population through listening to the consumer’s authentic voice. He received his BA in Economics from Queen’s University.