It’s Chinese Language Week in New Zealand and whilst the focus is on the language, not many people understand about Chinese as consumers.

In the past few months, I have been asked several times “Eric can you help us to reach out to the Chinese community about topic X?”

I replied “Sure, which Chinese group would you like to focus on?”

And they usually gave me a blank look.

There is a common misperception of Chinese consumers in New Zealand – that they are all from China or they are all homogenous with same values, attitudes, and decision making process.

This could not be further from the truth.

Here are the three groups of Chinese consumers in New Zealand based on Census 2013 data:


Here are the primary languages that these three groups speak:


This categorisation framework can also be applied to other ethnic groups as well, such as Indians or Europeans, the only difference is the size of the three groups.

As the table illustrates, “Chinese” consumers in New Zealand are very diverse and companies cannot apply a one brush approach in communicating and engaging with them.

On that note, here’s an interesting infographic about Chinese language, which helps you to connect with 20% of the world’s population.

Image credit: Oxford Dictionary

On a final note, here are additional resources for Chinese language in New Zealand:


Eric Chuah is the founder of Cultural Connections, a multicultural consulting firm working with government agencies, community groups, and private sector in New Zealand. He is currently serving as Independent Advisor for Multicultural New Zealand; Board Trustee for Auckland Regional Migrant Services; and Ethnic Media Advisor for New Zealand Human Rights Commission.