Infographic: The Chinese Community in Australia

Infographic: The Chinese Community in Australia

The size of the Chinese community in Australia

It seems like every marketer is interested in the Chinese community. That’s probably because, apart from English (naturally), Mandarin is now the most spoken language in Australia (overtaking Italian since the 2011 Census). When we combine all Chinese languages; Mandarin, Cantonese, Hakka, Teo Cheo and more, the total Chinese speaking population in Australia is around 650,000. 

And this audience spends. In addition to normal expenditure to set up a new life in Australia, this group includes a significant number of high value consumers as evidenced by house purchase, luxury labels and luxury cars etc. So it’s not surprising we’ve seen a spike in interest from existing and new clients in multicultural marketing (or as some clients still call it, ethnic marketing).

Given the last Census was in 2011, IDENTITY used migration figures from the Department of Immigration and Border Protection and forecast natural attrition rate to project the Chinese speaking population to June 2016 (it will be interesting to see how close our estimate is to the 2016 Census figure when it’s released on 27 June).

International Student data is sourced from the Department of Education and Training, Tourism data from Tourism Australia.

IDENTITY Communications is a strategy led, award-winning multicultural marketing agency. We are part of the global IPG Mediabrands group. If you find this information useful, please consider following us for more updates:

IDENTITY Chinese infographic APRIL 2017

NB: Infographic revised 19 April 2017.

Why we might be eating dumplings for Australia Day in the future

Why we might be eating dumplings for Australia Day in the future

This year’s Australia Day lamb ad from the folks at Meat and Livestock Australia pushed up a lot of people’s blood pressure.

Some were indignant that it tells us to eat lamb on Australia Day, without mentioning the words “Australia Day”, while others objected to the comparison between newly arrived boat people and the First Fleet settlers who killed many Aboriginal Australians.

First Australians have never welcomed Australia Day on January 26, and the vegans probably don’t like the cheeky dig. Though, I reckon it’s safe to say the Indians, Serbians and gays are ok with it.

Personally, I love it, especially the Haddaway ‘What Is Love’ backing track. But I don’t want to go there, today.

I love food as much (and probably more, judging by the scales) than the next person. The national debate sparked by the lamb floggers has got me thinking: what is Australian food? Do we have a national dish?

For those from India, there’s no shortage of distinctive food from their culture. I’m addicted to dosa at the moment.

Chinese – where do we begin? I’d begin and end with dumplings.

Japanese ramen; Yorkshire pudding comes to mind for the English; and the mere mention of Vietnamese pho and pork rolls instantly make me salivate.

Veteran food critic and author, John Newton, says Vegemite comes closest – and in incredible timing, it’s back in Australian hands after Bega bought it from the Americans.

For him it’s not “the Pavlova, whose provenance is hotly contested… not Peach Melba which, although named after an Australian, is not Australian. None of these justly celebrated desserts/cakes – with the possible exception of the lamington – came from Australian domestic kitchens. And none are associated with one place.”

Other favourites such as damper, lamb, steak and eggs, and pies aren’t uniquely Australian, he laments.

Newton says, just maybe, the Adelaide pie floater – “meat pie island in a pea soup sea” – qualifies. While people have served peas with pies, the “floater” is an original idea fresh from pie carts in Adelaide.

Food and drink are key ingredients of any celebration. So on Australia Day, what should we eat?

And this year, Lunar New Year is just two days after Australia Day. The Year of the Rooster falls on Saturday, January 28. With around one million Australians from Chinese, Vietnamese and Korean backgrounds, and the New Year falling on the weekend, the shindig will be huge.

But there’s no confusion when it comes to what food will be on the party table. If you want good luck, eat these lucky Lunar New Year dishes:

  • Spring rolls and dumplings: is all about wealth. In addition to being delicious, their shapes resemble ancient Chinese gold ingots.
  • Fish: for prosperity. As it sounds like “abundance” in Chinese, eat whole fish for wealth all year round.
  • Noodles: if you want long life, choose dishes with long strands of noodles. Cut them and you risk cutting short your life!
  • Tangerines and oranges: believed to bring wealth. In Chinese tangerine sounds like “luck”, while orange sounds like “gold”.
  • Mut (candied fruit): according to the Vietnamese, sweetness brings a sweet life and candied seeds such as lotus bring family happiness through having more children.
  • Watermelon: Vietnamese believe good luck comes to the household if a watermelon is cut during New Year. The inside is red and the darker the red, the greater the prosperity.
  • Lettuce: sounds like “growing wealth” in Chinese. That’s why lettuce is always ripped and thrown to the crowd at the conclusion of lion dances.
  • Whole chicken: including head and feet is symbolic of family reunion, togetherness and happiness. Make sure the chicken is as “whole” as possible, including head and feet.

Don’t ask me if I’ll be celebrating Australia Day or Lunar New Year this year. Why the either, or? I’ll be feasting on both.

In 2028, Lunar New Year falls on January 26. If we haven’t sorted out a national dish by then, it might be dumplings and noodles all round, mate!

Thang Ngo served as a local councillor in Fairfield for nine years (1999-2008). He is managing director of IDENTITY Communications, a multicultural marketing agency that is part of the global IPG Mediabrands network. He also publishes the noodlies food, travel and lifestyle blog.

Originally published by SBS, header image courtesy of SBS.

Traditional Chinese vs Simplified Chinese – what’s the difference?

Traditional Chinese vs Simplified Chinese – what’s the difference?

This is one of the most common questions that clients ask us at IDENTITY Communications. We’ve put together a quick guide.

China is already a major driver of world economic growth. Domestically, it’s important too. Around 650,000 people in Australia speak a Chinese language and Mandarin is now Australia’s most spoken language other than English (2011 Census), over 1m Chinese tourists visit Australia each year and China is our top source of international students.

Chinese lanterns

IDENTITY is a leading multicultural agency in Australia. Just about every campaign we do from NSW Government through to commercial clients like Toys”R”Us, Johnson & Johnson, Meat & Lifestock Australia (MLA) include Chinese as a target community. And yes, we get asked these questions a lot:

  • What’s the difference between Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese?
  • What’s the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese?
  • When do we use what?

The year of the Rooster falls on Saturday 28 January, 2017. With the Lunar New Year almost upon us, we thought it’s timely for a post that answers these common questions.

What’s the difference between Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese?

It’s the writing system. 

Traditional Chinese writing characters date back 2,200 years ago to the Han Dynasty.

During the 1950s the government in China implemented the First Chinese Character Simplification Scheme, with reduced number of strokes in many characters – this is what is now more commonly referred to as Simplified Chinese.

Key difference between Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese:

  • Simplified Chinese has less stokes, for example the Traditional Chinese character for million 萬, in Simplified Chinese is written as 万.
  • Because the characters are simplified, one Simplified character could have the meaning of several Traditional characters (polysemy) for example the Simplified character of 复 could subtitle a range of Traditional characters including 複, 復 and 覆. Context is given when they are read in conjunction with other characters.

However, not all characters have been simplified so readers may understand parts of a sentence, however, there is always a risk of misunderstanding.

Q: What’s the difference between Mandarin and Cantonese?

It’s spoken Chinese.

They refer to the two most spoken form of Chinese (there are in fact another 20 spoken dialects in China). Cantonese has nine tones while Mandarin only has four, which leads some to argue it’s easier for a Cantonese speaker to learn Mandarin. Cantonese is more commonly spoken in southern China, Hong Kong and the more established Chinese diaspora.

Cantonese speakers and Mandarin speakers would have a hard time understanding each other given the huge difference in tones. That’s why when producing communication involving the spoken language, you should cater for the relevant language preference.

Q: So Mandarin speakers use Simplified Chinese and Cantonese speakers use Traditional Chinese?

Wrong.

That’s a major misconception. Those from Southern China use Cantonese but write Simplified. Those from Taiwan speak Mandarin but write in Traditional Chinese. The only thing you can be sure of is that people from China use Simplified Chinese characters.

In Australia, Chinese language media are a mix of all of these, depending on their audience. So your communications material should match the language used. The Australian Chinese Daily uses Traditional Chinese characters, so your advertising should match that. Radio 2AC broadcasts in Mandarin. The majority of Australia’s local online publishers use Simplified Chinese.

As a general rule, when it comes to ethnic media in Australia, Chinese print media are mostly in Traditional characters, for online it’s Simplified and for radio it’s an even 50/50.

Q: Traditional, Simplified, Cantonese and Mandarin – when should we use what?

Chinese temple

Here’s a list of spoken and written Chinese for key Asian countries with a large Chinese population.

  • China: Simplified / Mandarin
  • Hong Kong: Traditional / Cantonese
  • Macau: Traditional / Cantonese
  • Taiwan: Traditional / Mandarin
  • Singapore: Simplified / Mandarin
  • Malaysia: Traditional / Mandarin

Did you find this guide useful? Please share with your network.

For more resources on how to target Australia’s diverse communities, visit IDENTITY.