Getting to know you series: the Korean community in Australia

his edition of the MultiConnexions ‘Getting to know you’ series of blogs was written by Sanchay Mohan – Head of Operations & Account Director at MultiConnexions.

My first memorable experience of Korean culture was over a decade ago when my family first moved into Chatswood, NSW and I tasted my first Korean BBQ followed by a night of karaoke and soju (a Korean alcoholic drink typically made from rice or sweet potatoes). If you have not yet tried Korean cuisine such as spicy fried chicken, kimchiand bibimbap, you have not yet experienced the rich taste of multicultural Australia! I urge you to try a Korean take-away while we are at home during COVID19! It is a lasting and pleasant memory to have a taste of Korean culture.

As the years went by since my first meal, many Korean businesses have opened as the migrant population started increasing and establishing themselves all around Australia.

According to Ministry of Home Affairs & Census 2016 data, Australia’s Korean migrant community has doubled in the last ten years.

The number of both international students and business owners with a Korean background has increased over the last few years. Retail stores owned by Australian Koreans focussing on fashion, hair and beauty are a common sight today. Korean importers and exporters in Australia are doing thriving business and positively contributing to the Australian economy. Many Koreans in Australia have found tremendous success and profit in the commercial and home cleaning business industry too.

As per the last Australian Census (2016), there are close to 100,000 Korea-born residents in Australia. If we were to look at Australia’s Korean population by ancestry, that number would be much more. By ancestry they could well be over 200,000 – a sizeable and attractive segment for niche marketing.

Over half of them reside in New South Wales (51,816), followed by Queensland at 18.6 per cent (18,327) and Victoria at 15 per cent (14,797). Geographic clustering makes them easier for brands to target.

In Australia, the main language spoken at home by this audience is Korean 90.1 per cent (88,960) and English is second at 8.7 per cent (8,596). This language-dependency means they are very receptive to marketing communications presented in their own language. The Korean community joins through language schools, Korean language broadcasts on TV/ Radio, and the several Korean magazines and newspapers around the country.

Many members of the Australian Korean community are religious and with more than three quarters identifying as Christian (Catholic 38.9 per cent, Anglican 32.1 per cent and other 5.9 per cent). The next biggest religion is Buddhism.

Dates of significance to the Korean community include South Korea Independence Declaration Day (1st of March), Buddha’s Birthday (Varies each year), Children’s Day (5th of May), Parents’ Day (8th of May), Korean New Year (Varies each year), Chuseok (Varies each year) and Christmas Day (25th of December).

Korean culture is changing rapidly. Though Confucian and traditional values are still important, their influence is losing its tight grip with many younger Koreans becoming more individualistic and influenced by Korean youth culture. A 2007 study found more than half of young Koreans consider the judgement and opinion of peers from their age/ status more important than the views of their elders/ superiors.

Today, every part of our lives in Australia has experienced the Korean influence.

Our entertainment has been shaped by an era of K-POP – Korean pop music can be heard commercially on the radio and at night clubs. Talking about K-POP who remembers Dami Im, the Korean-born Australian singer and songwriter? Dami Im is best known for representing Australia in Eurovision and achieving the highest score Australia has ever received.

Korean Australian pop sensation Dami Im performing at Eurovision 2016

As I write this blog, I cannot but think of how well this community has done in Australia. Their contribution has been enormous to our cultural, social and economic fabric of life.

If you are interested in promoting to the Korean community in Australia – an audience who are niche, highly loyal, and targetable – contact MultiConnexions today.

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