Culture Runs Deep

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About 17 years ago, I became one of 123,000 Filipino migrants to arrive in Australia in the year 2000. A father, a heavily pregnant mother and a child of just two or three landed on a plane with curious eyes and expectant hearts, looking to start a new life.

The change in scenery was quite drastic. Immediately, we shifted from the views of congested traffic, exotic food markets, jeepneys, and children running around in shorts and singlets to clean streets, smartly dressed people and sky-high buildings.

Although I was too young to realise this sudden change, my parents were indeed in culture shock as first generation Filipinos. To this day, I cannot place my finger on what I miss the most about my original home – whether it’s the warm smile of my grandmother, seeing my Mum paint in our upstairs room, watching my late grandfather cook, or the occasional middle-aged man roaming the streets screaming “TAHO!!!”, where I would eagerly run to the door ready to buy. (It’s a sweet Filipino dessert by the way).

One thing is for sure – whilst my stay in the Philippines was cut short, I never strayed too far from my roots, or my humble beginnings. My Mum and Dad, although working late night shifts and barely getting sleep, raised my sister and I with a very Filipino upbringing. We always ate dishes that many of my friends at school had never heard of before. Pictured below are some of my favourites.

Family is family

I remember my Mum telling me why she never became a doctor. She had the grades to be a doctor, she was on the Dean’s list at university, and even some of our family members were doctors. Yet, when I asked her why she didn’t want to she simply replied, “I wanted to spend time with my family.” My Mum was willing to forgo earning more, as she knew it would detract time from being with her family.

In the Philippines, we are very family-oriented. We won’t give up family for anything, even if it means sacrificing earnings. My Mum is happily working at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in a senior role, which provides her with the flexibility to spend time with us on weekends and after work.

Know the value of hard work

When we first arrived in Australia, I remember one day I woke earlier than usual to see my Dad preparing to leave the house. Back then, we were living at my Aunt’s house before we could find our own home. Dad left at approximately 4am, every day. The image of him leaving in his car through the window with barely any sun in the sky is an image that I’ve taken with me for more than a decade. To this day, I haven’t forgotten it, and I make sure it is embedded in my work ethic and my passion.

Hospitality

If you have ever visited a Filipino family home you may be familiar with the traditional Filipino greeting: “Hi, how are you? Have you eaten yet?” The first thing a Filipino asks after greeting is whether you’ve eaten. If you say no, they’ll offer anything that is in the kitchen. Hospitability is central to the Filipino culture. We love to make people feel welcomed and comfortable in our homes. It is also imperative to keep the house clean and presentable if anyone is to visit.

Culture is something to be proud of and holds an eternal grip on our identities. With Filipinos being one of the top three migrants to Australia in 2017, I am glad to see that the Australian landscape is buzzing and oozing with culture. There is always something to learn from the people around you. And, there is always something that will stay a part of you, no matter where you go.

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Family photo

This blog was written by Andrea Virrey, a proud Filipino-Australian and passionate multicultural marketing intern at MultiConnexions.

The life of a Chinese Daigou

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Meet Jenny

Jenny – 47 – works full time at a bank, but has been boosting that income by hitting the shops after work and on weekends. She puts in an additional 20 hours a week sourcing products like skin care, health supplements, breakfast cereals and chocolate products. Jenny knows that there is a big demand for these items in China.

She started off working as a Daigou by default, as her family in China were always requesting items to be posted back to them. They thought the quality of Australian products are better than China, and as time went on, word spread like wildfire. Her reach went beyond her immediate family and friends to a wider network in China – her WeChat followers increased by the day.

From there, business exploded to where she was earning AUD 2000 each week. Jenny posts images of products on her personal social media, WeChat, offering to purchase Australian products in-store for her clients and post them to China.

Demand for Australian products

Some of the products Chinese buyers are looking for are only available in Australia.

Some products, like baby formula and some health care products, are subject to Australia’s stringent safety regulations – making them highly appealing to Chinese consumers.

To alleviate safety concerns regarding China-made products, consumers are looking to Australian Daigou to help them find alternatives.

Trust is the key to good sales in China, and Daigous are often highly trusted. “Word of mouth plays an important part of Daigou activity,” Jenny said. As Jenny walks into a pharmacy, preparing to fill her basket with health supplements and skin care products, she will Skype with her friends, family’s friends and friends’ friends in China from her phone. She said video calls with clients are crucial when purchasing items, to prove that the products are genuine as they are from a legitimate store.

Since joining MultiConnexions as a Client Servicing Executive, I can see the huge potential of utilising the Daigou market for our clients.

Chinese consumers depend heavily on product recommendations from online reviewers. Peer reviews that they read on social media are very important when it comes to making a purchase decision.

In particular, WeChat, the most widely used chat app in the Chinese community, has opened up great opportunities for multicultural marketers. Sharing feedback and recommending products to friends has become substantially easier, due to the fact that the app allows sharing on a platform that is more private in nature between individuals and small groups. The Chinese community generally will only take the step to purchase a product after getting consent from their peers via social media and ecommerce forums. Hence, the most popular Australian exporters to China aren’t the brands – they’re the relationships and the unique marketing initiatives that Chinese enjoy.

5 Daigou Facts

1. Daigou are often entrepreneurial Chinese students living in Australia or Chinese visitors, who wish to send a number of Australian products back to China.

2. In China, the most-searched keyword on the web associated with Australia is Daigou.

3. Popular products among Daigou: Baby milk formula/powder, medications, health supplements, body lotion, face lotion, hand cream, body wash.

4. Reasons the market exists:

High quality, well known Australian brands
Fear of non-genuine Chinese products
Expensive retail price in China compared with Australia

5. It is widely acknowledged that there are between 40,000 to 60,000 Daigous in Australia advertising Australian products on WeChat, Weibo or C2C e-marketplaces in China.

Today, as a MultiConnexions team member, we help our clients to adopt the most appropriate strategy on a grass-root level to target various multicultural and diaspora audiences.

We can utilise WeChat social media platform to its fullest, increasing your brand’s exposure, in order to target buying agents and generate new business opportunities.

Whether it is setting up a client’s official WeChat account, creating unique and culturally tailored content, organising interactive competitions to increase your followers, or having our creative team to design artworks for display advertising, we know how to reach the hearts and minds of Chinese customers.

If you have a product, we have the answer.

This blog was written by Anabelle Yong, MCX’s Client Servicing Executive – a.k.a. Anabelly, the food lover.