As we approach the final stretch of our blog-based book discussion on Growing Healthy Asian American Churches, I’ve been underwhelmed by the number of comments posted. Statistics range anywhere from 5% to 33% of Asian Americans are Christians, and you’d think this would be a hot topic for discussion, generating triple-digit comments like over at pomomusings.
I couldn’t figure out the disconnect (cf. my post in March 2005 titled Asian Americans online enclaves). On the one hand, Asian Americans are the most active online compared to other racial groupings, and yet comparatively few are active in using the Internet to talk about faith, supposedly a very important thing for those who are into faith.)
Then I came across this in the New York Times piece, Google’s China Problem (and China’s Google Problem) [formerly titled "Google in China: The Big Disconnect"; cached here] ::
Chinese businesspeople, for example, rarely rely on e-mail, because they find the idea of leaving messages to be socially awkward. They prefer live exchanges, which means they gravitate to mobile phones and short text messages instead. They avoid voicemail for the same reason …
Aha! It’s an Asian sense and sensibility that meaningful conversations have to be face-to-face, and at 2nd best, at least real-time, and with people you know. And it’s been my experience that this preference of Chinese businesspeople is also true for a majority of Asians and Asian Americans. This means that advertising and marketing works very differently too for reaching this segmentation.
Disintermediated media doesn’t work for most Asian Americans. I’m the odd one out. Boo.
[update: another data point from How KitKat became Number 1 in Japan >> " Japanese young people are suspicious and scornful of advertising." Hmm.. and reading Cardboard's retort that people don't "buy products, they're buying comfort" -- it dawned on me that superstitions are particularly appealing for Asians]