Interview: Author Morry Morgan on being ‘China Ready’ – plus exclusive event details

Update 31 March 2014: ‘China Ready’ is in Melbourne this Thursday – and two seats remain… »


Morry Morgan wrote the book on selling big to China (literally). We’re fortunate enough to have Morgan joining us and a very limited group of guests at Marketing‘s next breakfast event, ‘China Ready‘. Tickets are now available for the Melbourne event, with details of a Sydney event coming soon.

To analyse the Chinese consumer in Australia – whether resident or travelling – Morgan will be joined by digital marketing specialist Robbie Burns of ChinaSEO, a company that has helped corporate sales and marketing teams market to Chinese netizens since 1997.

The breakfast promises to be a stimulating feast, of food and content. The 25 guests will learn:

  • where companies are missing out on sales because they don’t see the invisible customer,
  • the five Chinese consumer segments in Australia,
  • why marketers should forget about Google for these segments, and
  • how to use Baidu to target Chinese Australians.


We caught up with Morgan to ask what it means to be ‘China Ready’:

Marketing: How do marketers tell that there is an untapped target market (or markets) out there, whatever those may be? 

Morry Morgan: The key to see the unseen is to have a different perspective. Your own board, or team pow-wows won’t cut it. You need to expose yourself to a completely new environment, or point of view. That might mean your directors jump on public transport and head to the suburbs, or you join a community group monthly meeting. It could be as simple as driving home a different way. To see the unseen you have to walk a different walk.

What’s the size of the opportunity that’s being missed with the Chinese market in Australia?

People born in China accounted for the largest proportion of settlers at 13%. These people don’t flip from Mandarin to English when they touch down at Tullarmarine – they continue to use Weixin, Weibo, Youku and all the other social media sites native to China. Chinese-owned businesses are raking in business that is virtually invisible to the Australian-owned companies.

What’s the bigger opportunity for Australian businesses – residents or tourists?

91 million Chinese travelled abroad in 2013. While most of them travelled throughout Asia, many are venturing south to Australia. Even 10% of that market would be 9.1 million – two capital cities worth! Targeting the tourists is certainly the bigger of the two markets (for now).

How diverse are these segments and how do brands go about reaching them?

The segments are separated by both age, values and aspirations. However, because the social media landscape in China is limited to a handful of players, they are easy to engage – as long as you do that in Chinese language.

What companies are doing multicultural marketing well, in your view?

There’s a tour bus operator, family owned, that takes Chinese down to Phillip Island and the Great Ocean Road. The driver doesn’t speak any Chinese, the family isn’t Chinese, but they have seen the number of Chinese bookings double in a month, by engaging the Chinese in social media, and by buying advertising on China’s biggest search portal.

What kind of brands/companies need to be across this opportunity?

Hotels and tour operators are the easy winner. Restaurants will also benefit from being ‘China Ready’. For the ‘new Australian’ Chinese, who are residents, real estate, insurance and automotive could benefit. I know of Chinese who have travelled from Mount Waverley to Sunshine, to buy a TV from a fellow Chinese salesman! That’s about 90 kilometres, return.


Tickets to ‘China Ready’, part of Marketing‘s Food For Thought event series, are now available for the Melbourne event, with a Sydney event date to be announced »