East-West cultural differences are not the only things that you need to take into account. Although the Chinese, Taiwanese and Cantonese mostly originate from the same Han roots and many share the same language, religion, ethnic traditions and dynamic culture, there are a number of differences between these groups. For example, the Taiwanese passion for baseball, for which the mainland Chinese people are not very keen, results from the influence of the Japanese colonisation that lasted for half a century.
Chu and Chan (2008) have looked into the differences between Taiwanese, Cantonese and Chinese consumers. Among others, they have discovered that the Taiwanese respond much less to promotions that aren’t based on price, unlike the two other groups. They also noted that the factors that positively influence consumers when faced with the image of a company differed from one group to another. Brand names, product packaging, labelling and how easy the product is to purchase are the factors that the Taiwanese consider the most, while Cantonese put more attention on the availability of the goods and product presentation (display shelves, window displays, etc.).
In a world where few communication barriers remain, culture is more and more subject to various influences. What characterises a nation today may not be the case for future generations.
Sources : CHU, K-M et CHANG, H-C (2008). “Cross-cultural Consumer Behavior of General Merchandise for Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Shanghai, Taiwan”, The Business Review, Cambridge , Vol. 11 , No. 1
TAO, S-P (2003). “Life Style and Consumers in Taiwan and the United States; A cross cultural comparison of Activities, Interests and Opinions (AIOs)”, Thesis, University of Minnesota.
This small island covered in enchanting scenery, which has earned the name “Ilha Formosa” (the beautiful island), has about 23.1 million inhabitants. Two-thirds of the surface area is mountainous – the largely urban population is spread out over the habitable surface area, thus making it one of the world most densely populated countries. Mandarin is the official language, but unlike mainland China, it is still the traditional writing system that prevails. Well educated, Taiwanese people have a predilection for engineering. Incidentally, the Republic of China is one of the top five countries producing PhD’s engineers (Engineering Trends). Taiwanese people are very fond of high-technology: the capital Taipei has been well-known to possess the largest Wi-Fi network in the world (Taipei Times), and their prime minister is working hard so that the entire island will be recognized for it in the near future.
“Taipei 101″, was the tallest building in the world until it was surpassed in height by the Burj Khalifa in 2007.
Composed of more than 54 official ethnic groups, the country takes its name from the majority group, the Viet. The official language, Vietnamese, is their mother tongue. Until the 18th Century, the writing system used Chinese characters. The system was romanised following the arrival of Western missionaries and is still used today. Although Vietnam is part of the French-speaking world, French is only spoken as a second language by about 100,000 people and one very small French community. English dominates over French in terms of languages learnt.Read More
The world’s largest democracy
With its 1.15 billion inhabitants, the Republic of India is the second most populated country in the world after China. Hindi, the official language, is spoken by approximately 40% of the population*. In addition, the Constitution officially recognises 22 other languages, and it has been estimated that 844 dialects are used all over the country. English is the business language and is used in varying degrees by 40% of the population, which is composed of around 2,000 different ethnic groups. India established a democratic system of government following its declaration of independence in 1947, which survives paradoxically with the economic and social disparities. The federalist system consolidates this cultural plurality and makes India “unified in its diversity”.
* The various dialects are included.Read More
According to a study conducted by Ipsos Reid, advertisements in the mother tongue of the target consumer would be more effective at capturing Chinese and South Asian audiences. Moreover, 63% of the Chinese people who participated in the study said they would be more inclined to promote companies that are involved in their local community.
But simply translating an advertisement that is targeted at a different audience is not enough, especially when trying to capture newcomers. A significant portion of them do not identify with the advertisements. The language and presence of actors from various cultural backgrounds is not sufficient to reach the different communities. Publicity needs to be designed or adapted to reflect the reality of your audience.
Prasad Rao, a specialist in ethnic marketing provides a concrete example of the ethnocultural impact on marketing: the concept of a hassle-free mortgage initiated by certain large banks is undoubtedly attractive for the average Canadian, but for South-Asians and the Chinese, for whom haggling to obtain the best price is part of their culture, this practice was not well received.
Source: http://jimmintz.wordpress.com/2008/05/20/marketing-to-canadians-of-south-asian-and-chinese-origin-a-hot-trend/ , http://www.marketingmag.ca/english/news/marketer/article.jsp?content=20070129_68441_68441 and http://www.consumerology.ca/Consumerology_Release_Mar2.pdfRead More
Ethnic communities don’t only differ in their ways and customs, they also have different media-related habits. A study conducted by the Bensimon Byrne agency has revealed that first and second generation (male) immigrants read more newspapers than the rest of the population. In fact, the vast majority of them read newspapers in their mother tongue, a trend that is more pronounced in new arrivals and second generation immigrants.
Internet use is also more intensive among certain large ethnic groups (notably Chinese, South-Asian, westernised Asians and Hispanic communities). A survey conducted by Solutions Research Group revealed that the penetration rate of computers in Chinese and South-Asian households has reached 88% (compared to 83% of Canadian households). The internet is particularly popular among Chinese Canadians who use it for an average 2.4 hours per day (compared to an overall average of 1.7 hours) and 80% of those have access at home (the national average being 68%).Read More