3 Ways to Harness the Power of the Chinese Diaspora

We’re all forgetting something BIG about the Chinese consumer.

While brands try to decipher the psyche of the mainland Chinese consumer, there is a segment over 50 million strong few are focusing on. Yet, this group has been driving global product sales, is easily accessible, and can be great advocates within their communities.

That group is the Chinese diaspora.

On our travels around the world, and as a brand bridge to these consumers, we’ve noticed a few key areas for quick wins with this segment.


Know Your Customer; Know Yourself

To truly target the Chinese consumer, you have to know what they really care about. Use the tools at your disposal to find out these critical pieces of information.


If you’re in the food service space, Dianping can be a godsend. Take a look at what consumers in Shanghai like versus those in London or New York. Armed with that knowledge, you can then adjust marketing, advertising, and even menus to stay on trend. CPG clients can also capitalize on this information in their campaigns.


Location, Location, Location

Where’s the best place to advertise and sell your products? While the easy solution would be the supermarket, maybe it’s time to look further afield. With millions of Chinese travelling back and forth to the mainland, airports are arguably the biggest opportunity space to get your products into their hands.

It’s also important to know where the diaspora consume their information. In our experience, few Chinese migrants will adapt to western platforms like Youtube. If you’re advertising there, it’s a true missed opportunity. Instead, consider popular sites like Youku and Bilibili when delivering marketing messaging.


Success in China Starts Closer to Home

One of the most valuable aspects of the Chinese diaspora is how brands can capitalize on their close proximity for advisement. Companies should be careful, however. Migrants are no longer pure Chinese consumers. They’ve been influenced by their adopted homes and new customs.

But, they still form a critical link back to the mainland.

We’ve found that having this group advocating for a brand can greatly influence sales in China. That means success at home, and courting the diaspora, can spell success overseas as well. Companies today are using Chinese migrant feedback and influence as part of their daigou campaigns, using them to influence the trading dialogue with the mainland.

Second, third, and even fourth generation Chinese are still looking for ways to stay connected to their culture, whether through the products they buy or the food they eat. Most, though, are still forced into the supermarket’s Asian aisle or a trip to China Town. Brands, especially in the F&B and CPG sectors, can do a much better job of meeting the needs of this segment.