Thursday, January 19, 2006

Marketing to the Chinese Consumer

I am a Chinese if anyone hasn't found out from my surname(Ong 翁) yet. Well, not from China but from Singapore/Malaysia. My ancestors migrated from Hainan, China to Malaysia almost a decade ago. My posting today is based on the reason that I am a Chinese.

Here is an article from JWT (the 4th largest advertising agency in the world) about 12 things to know if you want to market to the Chinese Consumer.

1. Chinese people put pineapple, not pepperoni, on pizza. All foods are divided into "heaty" and "cooling" foods, and the two must be balanced at all times. Pizza is heaty, so the pineapple cools it down.

2. In China, "fresh" means "alive." Daoism is still a force in the People's Republic. Daoists believe our natural state is the only "balanced"state. Therefore, Chinese have a deep aversion to manmade preservatives. For that matter, Chinese women get prickly about chemicals in shampoo.

3. Brands used inside the home are locally produced and cheaply made. Brands shown publicly are foreign made and expensive. In a Confucian society, social status is an investment, so consumers will pay a huge premium for mobile phones and high-end alcohol. At home, price sensitivity is extreme.There are no designer bed spreads. Victoria's Secret doesn't stand a chance.

4. Chinese people never have dinner parties. The home is a place of refuge, escape, and, every once in a while, self-expression. Comfort is key. But where you live is paramount, which is why apartment blocks sport such names as "The Gathering of All Heroes Under Heaven" and "Tycoon Court."

5. More than 80 percent of Shanghai couples now get married with an engagement ring, up from practically zero a couple of years ago. In an unsafe world, men have to demonstrate -- not talk about -- their love. Women are suspicious of guys who say, "I love you."

6. A powerful woman decorates her $1,000 mobile phone with Hello Kitty stickers because she wants to be soft on the outside and like iron on the inside.

7. In China, feminine beauty is a tool that moves a woman forward. Cosmetic surgery is all the rage because it helps a young woman land a job,not a man.

8. Soy sauce can save lives. The thinking is as follows: "If my food tastes good, my family will eat more. If my family eats more, they'll get more nutrition. If they get more nutrition, no one will get sick. If no one gets sick, no one will lose a job. If no one loses a job, the family will be in harmony. If the family is in harmony, a new generation can be born." Unlike anywhere else in the world, great taste ladders to good health.

9. In 1995, the Chinese middle class virtually didn't exist. By 2005, there were approximately 100 million individuals in China with incomes inexcess of $4,000 (even in expensive coastal cities, purchasing parity power isat least 2.5 versus the U.S.). By 2010, there will probably be 200 million middle-class folk.

10. The smartest guy in the class is the coolest guy in the class. Girls really and truly go for brains, not bodies. In a dog-eat-dog, hierarchical Confucian world, intelligence is the ultimate weapon. Health clubs will always be niche.

11. Chinese people squirrel away 40 percent of their income, despite making, on average, less than a tenth of U.S. per capita income. The Chinese believe the fickle hand of fate can turn against them at any time. And there's virtually no safety net.

12. Germs are the ultimate evil. A Chinese mother's primary role is to protect the child from harm and shield the family from invasion. That's why air conditioners, washing machines, soap, food, dishwashers, and television sets all scream, "germ-free."

6 comments: said...


My name is Melanie, I am French student and I’m doing my Master 2 in China (my major is International Trade). I’m actually looking for blogs where I could post some articles. I am very interested in publishing articles because I want to become consultant specializing in China. Writing articles can bring me some experience and some opportunity for achieving this professional project. I'm in particular looking for blogs which deal with China and news. I liked your article.

Until now, I just written few articles and none in English, but I'd be happy to write for your blog if you are interested in my proposal. I can also write an article on your demand even if the subject not concerned China, knowing that I'm first of all looking for gain experience. Thanking you in advance for your attention to my request.



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