Population in Greater China: 1.4 billion

Market To All Chinese

Not all Chinese are from China. Think “Chinese” as “Hispanic,” not “Spanish.”

The U.S. government defines Hispanic as people “who trace their origin or descent to Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Central and South America (except for Brazil), and other Spanish cultures.” This includes Spain, which is the origin of Spanish culture. While Hispanic shares the same language and similar culture, each country has its own dialect and subculture.

There are Chinese all over the world. Like Hispanic, Chinese in different region has its own dialect and subculture. Mainland Chinese has quite different lifestyle and mentalities from Chinese in Taiwan or Hong Kong. They even have different character forms in writing. (See Traditional and Simplified Chinese)

Population in Greater China: 1.4 billion

Though population of China (1.37 billion) represents 19% of the world population (7.23 billion), marketers should not ignore Chinese from other regions. It is not just because the sizable population of Chinese outside of China. It is more about the exposure of your marketing materials to the other Chinese groups.

Unless your marketing communication is within mainland China, you should avoid images, assumptions and expressions that may cause any misunderstanding or displeasure to Chinese in other areas. For instance, the flag of the People’s Republic of China should be used to represent the country only, not the overall Chinese race or the language. Traditional characters should be used for advertisements on the traditional Chinese newspapers. 窩心 (woxin) means heartwarming and loving in Taiwan, but heartbreaking and aggrieved in China.

Do not scared by the variances of Chinese subgroups. In fact, they have more similarities than differences. Consult with local Chinese marketing professionals who understand the mix of your target audience. It is particularly important in the United States since it has Chinese from everywhere, visiting and staying. Do not count on Google or one Chinese-speaking intern to do the right work.

Overseas Chinese Population: 50+ million