Special Report: Marketing to the Chinese Community: New English-language mag targets disparate group

In This Report-Crown Life Insurance emphasizes stability anddependability, in an image-building campaign 19-Use of Chinese media is on the rise, says DJC Research 21-Tele-Direct and Ming Paojoin forces to publish a Chinese Yellow Pages 22-English-language Asian magazine Typhoon goes to press...

In This Report

-Crown Life Insurance

emphasizes stability and

dependability, in an image-

building campaign 19

-Use of Chinese media is on

the rise, says DJC Research 21

-Tele-Direct and Ming Pao

join forces to publish a

Chinese Yellow Pages 22

-English-language Asian

magazine Typhoon goes to

press for the first time 23

-Volkswagen Canada increases

sales and awareness with an

integrated approach 24

Taking its name from a tropical whirlwind known to Asians far and wide, the first issue of Typhoon magazine appears this month.

Yousef Tuan, publisher of the four-times-a-year English-language glossy, says because his magazine seeks Asian-Canadian readers with roots in such places as Hong Kong, Vietnam, the Philippines, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and elsewhere, he needed a title they can all identify with.

Also, Tuan says, typhoons are notorious for their speed, something he hopes the growth of his magazine will emulate.

He makes no bones about the readers his magazine wants to attract, adding he is after more affluent households with an average annual income of $60,000 plus.

He characterizes these readers as doctors, dentists, accountants and other professionals and managers.

Also, Tuan says, it is the younger reader he is after.

The second- or third- generation Asian-Canadian is an obvious target, but so is the young Asian immigrant whose English is fluent enough that he or she can enjoy the magazine.

But it is not only affluence or buying power guiding Tuan’s publishing decisions, he says there is a generational factor at work as well.

According to Tuan, older Asian-Canadians are familiar and comfortable with newsprint publications (almost always in their native tongues), and are not likely to change, but no such habit has been ingrained in the younger generation.

To signal Typhoon’s upmarket positioning, Tuan has stressed production quality.

He says he wants his magazine to compete with the mainstream magazines; to get his readers to say, ‘Hey, this is good stuff.’

A study last year showed the Chinese market in Canada had an average personal income of $27,675 versus $24,329 for the population at large; more own their own residences, 76% against 64%; and 58% have post-secondary education versus 46% of the general population.

Typhoon’s subscribers are being gathered from mailing lists rented for the prospects they offer.

Tuan says his database contains 250,000 Asian prospects across the country, and he expects to build a subscriber base of 30,000 from them.

Other distribution includes 15,000 on newsstands and a further 5,000 placed on the planes of Cathay Pacific and Air Canada.

At present, Tuan says he is also negotiating to have Typhoon available on Singapore Airlines and Japan Airlines.

Typhoon bills itself as a business, culture, fashion and leisure magazine.

Tuan says it is his intention to keep politics out of the book.

This month’s 68-page issue has articles on a Vietnamese refugee’s success in Canada, the pitfalls awaiting immigrant entrepreneurs, finding a job after university, and more.

The cover story is on Ma’Anne Dionisio, the young Filipina actress from Winnipeg starring in the musical Miss Saigon at Toronto’s Royal Alexandra Theatre.

Speaking to advertisers about the launch of the title, Tuan says he found, naturally, skepticism, but some of that reaction was dispelled when advertisers realized Typhoon was a good vehicle to reach a desirable niche market.

He says Holt Renfrew, a posh clothing store in Toronto, bought advertising because 40% of its clients are Asians.

In the first issue, Courvoisier has a full-page color ad, as has Chrysler Canada for its Jeep Grand Cherokee, Panasonic, Sprint Canada, Canadian Pacific Hotels and Resorts, Rolex and others, all in English.

One ad, for the Coventry Lane Jaguar dealership in Toronto is in Chinese.

Tuan says he encourages advertisers to use ads directed at Asian-Canadian consumers, but since his readership is younger and familiar with Western magazines he says wholly Asian advertising is not necessary.

He says a product is a product.

Since the publication of the first issue, Tuan says Typhoon has generated plenty of advertising interest for the second issue, out in May and also a budgeted 68 pages. Cover price is $2.95.

Typhoon plans six issues next year.

Tuan says Roots, the clothing company, has called, and Yves St. Laurent has shown some interest, as have cosmetics companies.

One line of cosmetics, Iman, named for the Somali supermodel (and the wife of English rock star David Bowie) has already signed for the second issue.

Tuan says a full-color full-page ad costs $4,990.

Typhoon Editor John Wen says in the May issue the lead business story is on clothing designer Alfred Sung, with a second big business story on Vancouver/ Toronto real estate comparisons.

Wen says the travel piece is on Vietnam, adding there is also a story on actress Sandrine Holt, an Asian despite her name.

According to the 1991 Census, there are 586,645 ethnic Chinese in Canada, 157,250 Filipinos, 44,095 Koreans, 1,640 Thais, 84,005 Vietnamese, 48,595 Japanese, and 580 Burmese, among others.