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Breaking through the Chinese Wall

There’s an old Chinese proverb: “All things are difficult before they are easy”. Chinese Herald owner Lili Wang has turned the difficult task of breaking into the local Chinese market into a much easier proposition.

By StopPress Team | December 3, 2018 | Sponsored content

When the Chinese Herald took out the ‘Best Medium/Large Business of the Year’ award at the Newmarket Business Awards 2018 in June this year it was just one more accolade in a procession of acknowledgements for Chinese Herald owner Lili Wang.

From the time this successful entrepreneur arrived in New Zealand 26 years ago as a young international student with a big suitcase and even bigger dreams, through to her acquisition of The Chinese Herald in 2015, Ms Wang has contributed greatly to the bringing together of the local Chinese community with the country they have chosen.

Many astute advertisers and marketers have already recognised the opportunity the Chinese Herald and its associated platforms afford them in their desire to tap into a burgeoning, high value market sector, with Chinese Herald going from strength to strength.

Chinese NZ Herald is a three times winner of the New Zealand China Media Awards 2014-2016, and today the newspaper employs a team of 30, with top journalists and editors committed to balanced, factually based and inspiring story-telling.

In 2016 the Chinese Herald formed a joint venture with NZME to create the news website, cnzherald.com. The deal with NZME is deemed to be the first time a New Zealand mainstream media has partnered with an ethnic media to deliver news in Chinese language.

Chinese Herald Newspaper is the only Chinese language media onboard major airlines flying between China and New Zealand, including Southern China Airlines, China Eastern Airlines, Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific and Tianjin Airlines. Other airlines flying between New Zealand and China are to be added to this list. A further development was the launch of the Chinese version of Arrival magazine, it is now a bilingual travel magazine distributed at all New Zealand international airports.

Targeting one million readers each year, it is quarterly published, and the circulation is 300,000 copies per annum. The newspaper and magazine offer significant marketing opportunities for business wanting to reach in-bound Chinese tourist and New Zealand Chinese returning home for holidays.

The big banks, ANZ, ASB, BNZ, Westpac and HSBC are all Chinese Herald advertisers, as are the telecommunications companies, Spark, Vodafone, 2degrees and smartphone brands Samsung and Huawei. As one can imagine retailers love the newspaper with Farmers, Noel Leeming and Rebel Sports just a few who have benefited from communicating with local Chinese customers in their own language.

Real Estate has been another area of success and as James Chan, international sales director Bayley’s Real Estate says after advertising with the Chinese Herald for 10 years, “Our international division has enjoyed tremendous success and exposure in marketing our properties via Chinese Herald to both local New Zealand and offshore investors.”

Similar endorsements have come from New Zealand Post, Cathay Pacific and Air New Zealand, with luxury vehicle dealers (Lexus, BMW, Mercedes Benz) being some of the most vocal in their praise.

Craig Innes, dealer principal, Mercedes Benz North Shore, who has been advertising with the Chinese Herald since 2012, says, “It’s gone really well. We’ve seen a lot of growth, to the point where we were dealer of the year in 2016, which was a great result and we can attribute a lot of that success to what we’ve done with the Chinese Herald. Moving forward we look forward to continue that relationship with print and expand it through into digital.”

The multi-platform approach is one close to Lili Wang’s heart. Initially there was only a weekly newspaper. Today the Chinese Herald is published four times a week (Tuesday to Saturday). With 10,000 copies per issue and 120+ delivery spots New Zealand wide, the paper is offered free to the community. It’s available at hotels, restaurants, banks, airports and supermarkets. Once a paper is collected, it will likely be read by at least three or four people in a family or a business, and readership is estimated to be around 150,000 per week.

CNZHerald.com – the joint venture between NZME (Publisher of NZ Herald) and Chinese Herald, now has over 120,000+ Unique Users weekly with over 350,000+ weekly page views with 70 percent of these coming from New Zealand but an important 30 percent from overseas, a great tie in for Chinese language visitors.

Meanwhile, WeChat is the number one social network choice for Chinese nationals. New Zealand and China have parallel universes when it comes to social media, since Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Skype are currently blocked in China.

Nine in 10 Chinese living in New Zealand who have a smartphone, have a WeChat account. WeChat users spend an average of 40 minutes a day on the platform, with 55 percent checking in more than 10 times. The Chinese Herald verified official WeChat account, established since 2015, now has more than 40,000+ subscribers, 250,000 Unique Visitors and 350,000+ Page Views Monthly. The Chinese Herald publishes four in-depth original articles a day on the platform, seven days a week, offering multiple ways for the local Chinese community to connect. There are already 170,000 local users of WeChat in New Zealand.

As Wendy Jefferson, marketing executive Continental Cars (BMW) advises, “It is very important for us to find ways of communicating with the Chinese community and we have found a lot of benefits in dealing with the Chinese Herald, who have introduced us to new ways of doing business with WeChat and their website.”

“The Chinese market in New Zealand is unique”, says Chinese Herald general manager, Christina Yu.

"Unlike those Chinese communities in Australia, Canada or other immigrant destinations, NZ Chinese immigrants are more educated and relaxed, they enjoy New Zealand’s quality lifestyle and are willing to spend and invest more in New Zealand market."

New Zealand is home to more than 170,000 Chinese with 70 percent of them living in Auckland according to the 2013 census. The real growth has only happened recently and the 2018 census figures to be released soon are likely to show a higher than expected rise in Chinese immigrants.

“We provide multiple media platforms to serve the Chinese community,” says Wang, “Unlike most Kiwis, Chinese people livingin New Zealand rely upon ethnic news services as their main source of news and there is a strong cultural trust of their own media, which makes the ethnic media a very effective advertising medium. Advertising in Chinese Herald exposes the advertisers to a substantial cross-section of the local Chinese community, which is the most significant, affluent and influential migrant group in New Zealand.”

The Chinese Herald has discovered that some of the greatest returns have been for clients in the real estate, cars, banking and finance, luxury goods, mobile phones, health products, supermarkets and travel industries.

Chinese Herald has been working closely with Newmarket and Parnell Business Associations, they provide workshops and seminar to local businesses who would like to tap into the Chinese market, sharing updated consumer trends and effective Chinese marketing strategies. With its locally employed Chinese speaking staff the Chinese Herald is able to develop media and marketing strategies for big advertising agencies, consider cultural factors and write in Chinese rather than translate. The ability to help marketers avoid cultural faux pas is essential in this market.

In the three years since the change of ownership, staff levels have doubled with an intake of Chinese speaking staff that understand the Chinese language and culture essential for the communication requirements of a community news purveyor.

New Zealand’s Chinese population is one of the highest growth sectors of the economy. The Chinese community in New Zealand have strong connections to their country of origin and consequently prefer accessing new through their own language media. Marketers who ignore this will be missing out on a rapidly growing market opportunity. 

For more information about the Chinese Herald contact Christina Yu at christina@chnet.co.nz or phone 021 329328

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