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Asia and Pacific Region Forum

The challenge of English language site for Far East audience

 10:45 pm on Jun 22, 2001 (gmt 0)

I'm planning on marketing an English language website to a Far Eastern audience. I realise that the correct language for the relevant country would be ideal, but, it just won't happen with this site at the moment.

What search engines in the far east will index a .com in the english langauge?



 12:16 am on Jun 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

Im sure Woz would have a comprehensive list, but two that deliver our site good referrals are Goo and Catcha.com last time i looked.


 2:36 am on Jun 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

Like chiyo said, from Japan, you'll probably only notice traffic from Goo [goo.ne.jp] without the local language. A lot of the other big players in Japan, like Google [google.co.jp] and Fast [alltheweb.com] will be indistinguishable. The only way you can get into their Japanese indexes is to have Japanese content.

[edited by: bill at 1:28 am (utc) on Oct. 6, 2004]


 10:20 pm on Jun 23, 2001 (gmt 0)

Thanks chiyo and bill,
Asia is such a big region with so many languages and so many markets - this is a tough one. I've had, on other sites, success with goo, although, the langauge "barrier" is something my client will have to take on board.

Would the usual dotcoms like google and av be the sources for Asian communities reading in English language?


 3:12 am on Jun 24, 2001 (gmt 0)

Would the usual dotcoms like google and av be the sources for Asian communities reading in English language?
For Japan you'd probably be better off with Google, Fast and Inktomi. Japanese AltaVista results have been used only by MSN Search. However the recent MSN/Inktomi deal [webmasterworld.com] will probably change that.

[edited by: bill at 1:28 am (utc) on Oct. 6, 2004]


 3:14 am on Jun 24, 2001 (gmt 0)

I think you are right engine. In countries which are predominantly English speaking, or where the business language and the middle class speak English, we find we get a lot of hits from country specific major SE sites.. eg sg.google.com asia.av.com etc etc (sorry this is off top of head cant remember exactly the referiing domains).

For English language countries... Singapore, Malaysia, Philippines. A lot of surfers from countries which do not use English commonly - Japan, China, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, etc do read English and many have been educated in Western universities. But for these countries the local native language portal is the key. But the point is that those who DO speak/read English also use the google/lycos/AV/MSN etc.

We have 3 sites that are in English, the content is all about Asian business issues, and the hits seem to be fairly evenyly divided between Asian countries and non-Asian countries. We havent bothered targeting getting listed in local language sites.

Hope bill comes back on this. He is one of the real experts here on Asian SE's


 3:48 am on Jun 24, 2001 (gmt 0)

>Im sure Woz would have a comprehensive list

Thanks for the compliment Chiyo but I am afraid I am on just a steep a learning curve as averyone else around here. But I am working on the list.....

Having said that, I think you have all hit the nail firmly on the head with the discussion.

If the site is in English, then only people who read English will visit and stay. Try as hard as I might in staring at a screen of characters they still make little or no sense to me. Most people who come across a site not in their language will hit the back button fairly fast. Those who do read your languiage will stay if the subject is of interest.

So most of the "native language" sites are out, except for those who spider bilingually (now theres a concept) Sohu in China comes to mind as an example.

For pure english referals, as both Chiyo and Bill say, AV, Fast and Google are the ones to target, and if you are well placed in them anyway then your bases are covered. Also, as bill says, Inktomi may be a major source in the not too distant future.

I guess I am not adding much here but rather just strengthening what the others have said.

One thing to consider though is for which English are we optimising? English as a first language, or English as a second language (ESL)? They are very different.

A classic example from personal experience if the difference in how a question is answered in Chinese or English. In Chinese the answer is given to the validity of the question itself, whereas in English the answer is given to the validitiy of the subject of the question.

For example, "You won't do that again will you?"
English = No! (no I won't do it again)
Chinese = Yes! (yes, what you have said is correct in that I won't do it again)

So Yes can mean No and No can mean Yes! Syntactically they are miles apart and yet mean the same thing. Confusing? Try living there...

This is something that I havn't really though about before this thread, but is certainly a possible avenue to exploit. However you would be in the same boat in needing expert advise from someone who understands the local version of English as a second language in regards to optimisation.

Chiyo and Bill, do you optimise for ESL as all? Or do you optimize for ESL?


(edited by: Woz on 7:39 am (gmt) on June 24, 2001)


 5:20 am on Jun 24, 2001 (gmt 0)

That's a great point Woz about writing for english as a second language or primary. Can't help much here. We dont have braod experience as we run highly specialised sites rather thn broad based ones. We target only a few specialist keyword phrases and our target is really CEO's and senior managers, both from outside and inside Asia.

As has been said in this thread before and you have underlined, the key is who are you targeting? The role of our site is to develop leads for the sponsors and the advertisers, most of who are selling consulting/business services and products (such as books and conferences/seminars) mainly in the English language. We get enquiries from Japan, Taiwan, Korea etc mainly because our site is abbout international business in Asia, and English is accepted as the language of international business.

We are not sure if we would get very far in converting leads if the enquirer does not have a reasonable grasp of English.

We realise that using ESL as a base would broaden our base, and we do use that in several columns for example. However our main target are fairly sophisticated and international and we dont want to put them off by simplified English.

For a broad based popular site yes I agree the use of ESL standards would be a major plus. And enlisting a local partner to help in copy generation of this sort would be a necessity in any serious venture of this kind.


 8:55 am on Jun 24, 2001 (gmt 0)

This a really interestng thread.

For the sake of this exercise, the site MUST remain with first language English (FLE), although the ESL concept is a possibility. I can see several new pages being created to take advantage of this.

I would always agree with localisation for the langauge.

The key here is the "internationalisation" of the site.

I have experimented with FLE in the Far East and achieved acceptable results because the target audience are senior executives, managers, engineers, doctors, etc., which, more than likely, have ESL (and possibly others).

If I were targeting the masses, for sure, I'd need, at the very least, ESL to open the opportunities further, then, the ultimate of translations, local domains, etc.

I can see us having fun in the office working out ESL, no? hehe

>I guess I am not adding much here but rather just strengthening what the others have said.

As you're all involved in these environments all your views are highly respected. Thank you.


 2:28 am on Jun 25, 2001 (gmt 0)

Thanks for the words of encouragement chiyo:)
It's interesting to see this ESL topic pop back up. Back in October 2000, tedster, Gorufu and I talked about this [url=www.webmasterworld.com/forum32/14.htm]very topic[/url] (as we strayed completely off the topic of the thread). To summarize, if you want to use an English site targeting Japan you would:
[list]Keep the English really simple (don't use colloquialisms)
  • Use lots of easy to understand images
  • Simplify the ordering process
    Chiyo and Bill, do you optimize for ESL as all? Or do you optimize for ESL?
    I try not to add too much marketing-speak to my pages, but sometimes it can't be helped. A lot of the sites I work on have to do with industrial products, and in those sites I have to use a lot of terminology that would be used by Engineers, who tend to have a language all their own. This audience, like chiyo's tend to have a better understanding of English. Overall I don't really focus on an ESL market, so I don't write toward them.
    Like everyone else here seems to agree, the target audience is key to whether you'd use this or not.

  • Mel

     4:32 am on Jul 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

    Hi engine: Interesting thread for me as I am located in the Far East.
    IMHO you need to look at not only the regions but each country you want to target i.e. don't waste your time with an English language site for Taiwan, but this is the most common site language in Singapore and Malaysia.

    There are many Far East engines which will index sites in English - for a list of them go to [dreamsubmit.com...] where they have a listing of most Asian search engines organized by country and region.

    One English language engine in particular you might want to target is [asiadragons.com....] They have sites in twenty East Asian countries, but one submission goes to all. They also have six chinese language sites, but I am not sure about the interaction between the English and Chinese language sites.

    Hope this helps a bit


     7:40 am on Jul 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

    Mel, thanks.

    With the many languages in the Far East it is impossible to target them all. In this instance, the site must remain in English which I recognise WILL limit the possibilities.


     9:30 am on Jul 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

    Hi Engine:
    There is also the consideration of the target audience within the country you are targeting. A great number of young and middle aged executives in Asia have been educated either in the the US, Australia or the UK and so are fluent in English and use that language commonly on the web. In general, the higher you go up the economic ladder the greater the command of English.

    IMHO you should have no problem reaching a significant number of English speaking web users in India, Singapore, Malaysia,Hong Kong and the Phillipines. You will have to go higher up the economic ladder in Korea, Thailand, Japan, and China, but the last two in particular have such large populations that even a small portion might be significant. In Taiwan and Indonesia the proportion will be smaller yet, and when considered together with the countries size and economic situation Bagladesh, Burma, Cambodia, and VietNam will have to have some special reason to target them at all.

    Hope this helps a bit.


     12:40 pm on Jul 6, 2001 (gmt 0)

    Woz: "So most of the "native language" sites are out, except for those who spider bilingually (now theres a concept) Sohu in China comes to mind as an example."

    Sohu brings us a fair amount of traffic both in English and Chinese...it was also the first Chinese language submission I was successful with

    even before we added Chinese pages we were getting good traffic from Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia...and that was without much effort targeting local SEs and directories


     6:33 pm on Jul 20, 2001 (gmt 0)

    Yes. I'm from the "Far east" as well and I can second what the guys have being saying about Singapore,Malaysisa,philipines. As far as i can tell most of the sites there are inEnglish.

    But if you are targetting China,Taiwan or Hongkong, you are out of luck if you only have a english webpage.

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