Quote EndQuote Cross-Cultural Strategy

Whatz Up for Multicultural Marketers?

Posted by Tina | 03.18.14

Facebook bought WhatsApp recently in an effort to accelerate their expansion into international markets. But would WhatsApp really help Facebook conquer Asia’s social media arena? It’s doubtful.

WhatsApp is definitely the most popular IM (instant messaging) mobile app in Asia such as Malaysia, Hong Kong and Singapore, but what about other Asian markets such as China, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea? In those markets, instant messaging (IM) services such as WeChatLine and Kakao Talk seems to be pulling ahead of WhatsApp in popularity.

With approx. a quarter million newcomers immigrating to Canada over the past four years, predominantly from mainland China, India, Philippines, and Pakistan, multicultural marketers are turning to digital advertising for a cost-effective way to reach these tech-savvy consumers.

When newcomers to Canada and arrive from source countries such as Asia, they already have established IM preferences. These preferences often don’t include Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other popular social media and IM services that are popular in North America.

Increasingly, Canadian organizations want to connect with newcomer mainland Chinese BEFORE they immigrate to Canada, as it’s one of the largest source countries for immigrants to Canada. Utilizing Facebook’s newly acquired WhatsApp, both of which are American-owned, might not be the most effective medium currently. Censorship has been guarding the door for many communication-based technologies to enter China and other IM services have a strong foothold. For example, WeChat, owned by Tencent, the internet giant in China, is growing rapidly in China, as well as globally with over 100 million registered users outside of China acquired since its inception in 2012.

Aggressive WeChat is not yet satisfied with its current growth achievements in the IM and social media landscape; it’s working hard to become an essential part of any mobile user’s life. A recently launched WeChat TV comes complete with technology that allows remote control capabilities through the mobile app, as well as the ability to purchase premium content on WeChat TV. At a recent Tech Expo, WeChat even demonstrated how a person can turn on their home’s air conditioning system through the mobile app before they arrive. QEQ has been utilizing WeChat App’s current B2C marketing functions. As their services continue to expand, we’re willing to bet they would be eagerly adopted by marketers.

For marketers looking to market to multicultural newcomers and international students in Canada, check out this infographic for the top 10 IM apps around the world http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/230335.