Reaching and Engaging Chinese Customers
on their Digital Devices

By Eastward Media | July 20th, 2017

If your business is in Vancouver or Toronto, then this post is for you.

It’s no secret that Vancouver and Toronto have become modern meccas for Chinese tourists, international students and immigrants. In fact, the two urban areas absorb an estimated 70% of total Chinese newcomers, adding to an already established Chinese population forecasted to nearly double by 2031.

The influx of Chinese consumers brings unprecedented growth opportunities to many businesses in Metro Vancouver and the Greater Toronto Area, and helps offset the effects of a maturing, native-born consumer market.

With strong buying power and a penchant for premium products as well as essential goods, newly-landed Chinese consumers in Canada are driving sales in luxury retail, CPG, grocery, automotive, telecommunications, home furnishing, and real estate.

So, it comes as a no-brainer, then, that most businesses in Vancouver and Toronto have a clear strategy for recruiting Chinese customers.


In our experience working with a diverse portfolio of clients across five industries, businesses don’t always know where to start when it comes to engaging Chinese consumers. And it’s not their fault. Really.

Marketing to the Chinese consumer in Canada is an under-studied subject, but with overwhelming promise.

At Eastward Media, we help business organizations reach and engage Chinese consumers through our data-driven digital media systems. From the campaigns we've run for clients in real estate, automotive and retail, we've been able to identify three key trends.

1. ‘New Chinese in Canada’ are Heavy Digital Users, Just Not Google Friendly
A comScore report examining the online media consumption of ‘New Chinese in Canada’ from July to August 2016 found that 73% of their accessed content comes from China. What we continue to observe is that newly-landed Chinese immigrants and visitors retain their home-country media habits. This is largely due to language preferences and lack of local Chinese news or entertainment content.

Top 10 Media Sites:

Nine of out the top ten media destinations of 'New Chinese in Canada' web users have their primary servers located in China, meaning that major networks like Google are not able to access ad inventory, due to state regulations.

This means that your display campaigns, despite ‘zh’ language settings, local geo-fencing and Simplified Chinese creatives, are not hitting the mark. Without the right ad inventory, your Chinese banner campaign won't display on the premium high-traffic websites that Chinese consumers in Canada are visiting.

2. ‘Chinese in Canada’ Consumers are Quite Ad Friendly
IPG Mediabrands’ Multicultural Media Study 2016 found that Chinese consumers are more positively receptive to advertising. 64% of Chinese survey respondents said they felt that ads kept them up-to-date with new products, compared to only 44% of the general population feeling that way. In addition, 45% of Chinese consumers agreed they “feel closer” with brands that advertise in Simplified Chinese.

A full summary of the study can be found here.

3. WeChat is a Proven B2C Social Channel
WeChat is a massively popular Chinese social media platform, with over 728 million daily users. In terms of function and utility, it combines features from Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Apple Pay, Uber and Amazon. Essentially an "all-in-one" super app, WeChat users are platform-loyal, even after they lay down roots in North America.

WeChat usage in Vancouver and Toronto is on the rise. Sales professionals, from automotive brand specialist to real estate agents and retail store workers, are using the social media platform to discover leads, negotiate deals, and build customer networks.

In China, brands use WeChat to inform buyers, promote events, and drive conversations. The platform is increasingly becoming a central component of their social media strategy. Canadian businesses organizations, however, are just starting to include WeChat in their marketing plans. In January 2017, Buick Canada publicly announced their official presence on WeChat. Check out our infographic on why WeChat is an essential B2C channel for your business

In summary, there is plenty of opportunity in Canada's burgeoning Chinese consumer market. If your business wants to reach Chinese consumers, local or international, then we'd love to hear from you.

For Business Inquiries:
Kevin Liminsang, VP Client Services
Phone: 604.619.2991