Special Report: Marketing to the Chinese: Tele-Direct, Ming Pao creating Chinese Yellow Pages

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

The increasingly lucrative Chinese market in Toronto is one some marketers are pursuing with diligence.

It’s large and getting larger, and its affluence is well-known as numerous consumer behavior profiles attest.

So it is hardly surprising the first ethnic Yellow Pages in the country is being created for Chinese-Canadians as a joint venture between Tele-Direct Services and Ming Pao Newspapers (Canada.)

George Jewell, director of information services for Tele-Direct, says his company recognized the need for an ethnic Yellow Pages product, so, last fall, decided to make the first one Chinese.

Then, Jewell says, Tele-Direct went to the Vancouver-based daily Ming Pao, an offshoot of Ming Pao newspaper interests with their headquarters in Hong Kong.

Jewell says Tele-Direct went to Ming Pao because the company felt to be successful it had to have that ‘integral link’ to the ethnic community in question.

He says Ming Pao has connections in Hong Kong (where most Chinese in Canada come from), the People’s Republic of China, and greater Toronto, which has the largest Chinese population in Canada and where the first Chinese Yellow Pages will be distributed.

Jimmy Hung, general manager of Ming Pao, says the paper was drawn to Tele-Direct because, among other things, it could learn from the Toronto-based company how to penetrate the mainstream and so attract new ad revenue.

Jewell says Tele-Direct looked at the ‘overall demographics of the [Chinese] Yellow Pages user group’ before deciding on this community for its first ethnic project, but it was also observed there was a need for lots of services directed towards Chinese consumers.

He says distribution is key to the success of the Chinese Yellow Pages, with all Chinese-speaking households in the greater Toronto area getting a copy.

He says Tele-Direct expects to distribute at least 75,000 copies of the 300- to 400-page Chinese Yellow Pages or Wong Yip as the name is known when it is romanized.

Jewell eschews the familiar rifle/shotgun comparison to the directory’s distribution, saying it will be laser-like instead.

Peter Li, deputy general manager of Ming Pao, says Tele-Direct, experienced in these matters, will distribute the Chinese Yellow Pages through its normal channels.

To identify Chinese-speaking households, Li says the names and addresses of Chinese-speaking households will be gathered by going through the regular white pages of the phone book, something he admits is tedious and may lead to errors such as the English name Lee being mistaken for the romanized Chinese name Lee.

Li says Ming Pao is also running an ad campaign now to alert Chinese households to the directory, so consumers can call in and put their name on the list for one.

As well, he says advertising and promotions will attract more Chinese consumers to the directory after it has been published.

Jewell says the new directory will be free to consumers, and its cpm rates are ‘very attractive.’

He says a full-page black-and-white ad costs $3,700 and includes a 1/4-page ad free.

Ming Pao is handling sales calls, and promotional plans are being readied for the new directory’s July launch that will use, among other advertising, ethnic tv and radio buys, and Tele-Direct’s hot air balloons.

So far, Jewell says, there has been a strong mix of Chinese and mainstream advertising interest.

He says the large national advertisers now recognize that ads need to be customized to a particular consumer base.

Tele-Direct is providing free ad translation and design.

Jewell says unlike traditional Yellow Pages products, Wong Yip will have a strong editorial front section in Chinese, offering largely service articles.

Tele-Direct is selling four-color advertising in this section, as well as selling the front and back pages of the directory to advertisers.

A couple of other distinguishing features not seen in traditional Yellow Pages are a tear-out application for a credit card company, and shrink-wrapping the directory to hold, say, a brochure from a car maker.

Hung says the listings in the Chinese Yellow Pages will be in Chinese, using traditional characters rather than the simplified characters introduced by the regime in Beijing about 30 years ago.

He says using traditional characters means Chinese-speakers from Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and elsewhere will be able to read the listings, suggesting what Tele-Direct and Ming Pao learn from their project could be a boon to direct response and database marketers.