Back to blog


Bastion Collective’s strategic research consultancy, Bastion Latitude, has just launched an independent, local and one-of-a-kind research community, called the Golden Voice, which has grown rapidly since inception in July to now include over 5,000 local Chinese residents living in Australia.

The purpose of Golden Voice is to enable market and social research to help bridge the gap between two distinct cultures and give a voice to a community that wants to be heard. Representing new Chinese migrants living in Australia, who are part of a large and growing audience termed the ‘New Chinese’; a generation of Chinese migrants from middle-class China arriving in Australia in the last 5 years. The Golden Voice is made up of Chinese international students, working professionals, business owners, daigous, recent and established migrants.

Migration patterns have always influenced Australian society and today there are 1.2 million people with Chinese ancestry living in Australia; a 115% growth rate since 2001. The spending power of the Chinese migrant is also well documented; high disposable income combined with a love for shopping. And while the Chinese migrant is likely to speak (some) English, the language and cultural differences can be a barrier to understanding and adapting to an Australian way of life.

Currently, businesses and organisations are failing to effectively communicate and engage with this large and valuable group due to a lack of cultural insight.

According to a recent study surveying the Golden Voice community, only 39% agree that Australian companies ‘understand their needs’, yet 66% state that they ‘would prefer to buy brands that show they understand the Chinese community’. 51% of those surveyed stated that they would ‘like to see more Australia companies communicate in Mandarin’. Beyond creating in-language communications companies can also included references to Chinese culture in communications (for example use of Red or Gold) and by recognising cultural events, such as Lunar New Year which 49% would like to see Australian companies celebrate. This doesn’t have to be an overt message, but can simply act as a nod of understanding to Chinese Culture.

Isabel Zhang, Head of Cross-Cultural Insights at Bastion Latitude, said the findings highlight the growing importance of understanding Chinese views, perspectives and experiences as a marketing or communications professional in Australia.

“We want to help society, government organisations, brands and companies to better understand the Chinese in Australia. We want to open up that door, and allow those viewpoints to be heard.”

To effectively engage this audience you need to have a deep understanding of Chinese migrant needs in the context of the products and services you offer. This sounds easy enough, but conducting research with the Chinese community can be challenging. Chinese migrants are not easy to reach via traditional market research (under represented or not represented on online research panels). Further, there are varying levels of English language proficiency, and most Chinese migrants do not speak English at home, so to really understand this segment research needs to be conducted by native speaking moderators and surveys need to be translated into Mandarin.

Experienced researchers who understand this segment know that the integration of cultural context is important in every stage of the research process. They understand that Chinese interpret some concepts differently than others and know how important it is to dig deep into the insights to uncover behaviors, mindsets and attitudes worth noting and those that are particularly sensitive.

We’ve recently seen a worldwide social storm erupt around Dolce & Gabbana, who may not have thought it was important to understand the cultural landscape, but it appears to have been an expensive mistake with Reuters ​report​ing that the brand may lose as much as half a billion dollars in revenue as a result. The Dolce & Gabbana example is a cautionary reminder that as marketers we need to ensure we understand China culturally, otherwise risk losing trust from Chinese people. In Australia, there’s much still to learn and understand about this audience.

Zhang explains: “There are many cultural nuances that make it difficult for Chinese people to feel comfortable in their interactions with others here”. This contributes to new Chinese migrants facing a number of struggles when adjusting to life in Australia, everything from trying to work out what insurance they need, getting a bank account, and even how to use public transport. It all seems simple to us, when we have grown up here but navigating everything from transportation to Australian humour can be a challenge, with half (50%) agreeing that it is a struggle to understand Australian humour.

“It presents a real opportunity for the Australian organisations to connect to Chinese migrants which are growing and valuable audience. From recognising Chinese heritage and traditions, which are still a big part of their identity, to having more language translations, and engaging with them on the right channels where they already are, would all help.”


Bastion Latitude is the strategic research consultancy arm of independent marketing and communications group, Bastion Collective. Bastion Latitude has developed the first, local & independent in-language research community in Australia, the Golden Voice, for Chinese living in Australia. Golden Voice is a WeChat based Mandarin-speaking research community that removes the language divide in order to gain deeper insights into cultural nuances. For more information visit

Keep up to date with our latest articles

Thank you. We will be in touch soon.