Dec 28, 2010

Timing Matters!! ---Running online research in Asia : 2

The holiday season is here and year 2010 is coming to an end. In Western countries, New Year is one of the biggest holiday seasons and is usually the time for family reunions. Likewise, numerous big events which are usually accompanied by many fireworks and illuminations are held in major cities around the world. Because of this, many people go back to their hometown to celebrate the New Year with their family. However, this is not the case in some Asian countries.

In countries like China, Taiwan, Malaysia, and South Korea, people do celebrate Solar New Year (January 1st), but Lunar New Year is given more importance. Lunar New Year is based on the ancient lunisolar calendar and each country celebrates the day in its own unique way.

In China, New Year is also known as zheng yue; the New Year Festival begins on the first
day of the first month and ends with a traditional Lantern Festival. The whole New Year Festival lasts 15 days and during this period, people usually return home for the family reunion. In celebration of the traditional holidays, people eat a lot of homemade food, exchange gifts with relatives, and set off firecrackers.

Korean New Year, commonly known as Seollal, is generally the same day as the Chinese New Year. Traditionally, people return home for the annual family reunion. Most of them travel home by car hence a very heavy traffic on highways is one of the most typical scenarios during this period. People in Korea commemorate this holiday by eating traditional foods, visiting family graves, and playing games.

With the recent rapid growth of the economy, travelling abroad during Lunar New Year is becoming more common in Asian countries. But despite this, the majority of people still return to their hometowns to visit and celebrate with their family and relatives.

During the Lunar New Year, most people do not spend time using the Internet and answering online surveys as much as they usually do. And the survey participation rate is quite low during this period. This might be a major factor that marketing research companies tend to overlook. Therefore, if you are thinking of running studies in Asia, we highly recommend avoiding fieldwork during this period.

Oct 22, 2010

Translation Matters!! ---Running online research in Asia : 1

We are perfectly aware that language translation is always an issue when it comes to running surveys in Asia. As an Asian data collection firm we've received many surveys in Japanese/Chinese/Korean which are the local languages of where we have proprietary panels in. Looking at these surveys translated, there are some points we find importance in, to keep the whole survey to make sense in order to maintain the data accuracy and also to maintain panelist's loyalty towards research surveys.

Maybe these would be some points project managers may want to double confirm with the translation company before approval... "comprehensible" is the minimum, to ensure the data quality and sustain the valuable online panels in the region, we sincerely do like to request the focus into the points below.

"Usage of respectful form(honorifics) for personal pronouns and at the end of sentence"

At least in Japanese and Korean, and not as much but in Chinese as well, there are honorifics that do not exist in English language. What we sometimes see in commissioned surveys are, since the personal pronouns are literally translated, the respondent as in "you" being called in a disrespective manner. This upsets the respondent much more than you can imagine, so we recommend all personal pronouns that points the respondent "you" to be "anata(Japanese)" or "dang sin(Korean)".

Moreover, we do see questionnaires in imperative form to ask for answering especially at the end of the sentence... this is another obvious miscommunication point.

"Usage of pronouns"

Using correct pronouns to indicate something shown in the survey is important, especially when it comes to questions asking about multiple images. We do frequently see mistakes in both questions and options for this, which would affect research results severely.

To prevent data corruption and fraudulent response due to mistake from these fundamental language difference, we do recommend you to consult with your client to run a "back translation", how you have the "translated version" questionnaire translated "back" to English in order to make it possible to compare with the original version.

Sep 21, 2010

Korea Quick Poll - Which is your primary media to access daily news?

From Korea - Here are the results of the quick poll we conducted on August 21st, 2010 about the way how people get information about daily issues.

Question: Which is your primary media to access daily news?
Total respondents: 6,041 

Internet                        - 4,296
TV                                 - 1,206
Newspaper                -     206
Friends and Family   -    126
Radio                           -    101
Other                            -      62
Free newspaper        -      47

Internet is now the most popular news platform in Korea based on our quick poll results. The overwhelming majority of Koreans (71%) use Internet to search out news because it is easier to access than from the televisions, radios or national print newspapers. You can check the article as soon as the news is uploaded. Getting news online allow consumers to assess and react to issues since most online news sites provide BBS or comment section under each news article. This makes reading news online more interesting. Further, online consumers also can share news link to their social networking sites, giving rooms for others for their opinions. Meanwhile, most portal sites in Korea such as Naver ( and Daum ( allow online users to set their main page and edit news lists based on their interests.
One-click generation has changed Koreans’ affiliation to news by becoming personalized and participatory.

Sep 17, 2010

China Quick Poll - How many credit cards do you have?

From China - Here are the results of the quick poll we conducted on 28th, Aug 2010 about
the number of credit cards a Chinese consumer has.

Total respondents: 12,404 
Question: How many credit cards do you have?

The results are as follows.

None            31.5%                  
  1                27.1%
  2                20.2%
  3                11.5%
  4                 4.5%
  5                 1.8%
more than 5 3.4%

Based on the survey conducted, 68% of our respondents have at least one credit card as of August 28, 2010. This is due to the strong growth of Chinese consumer market and the needs for personal payment. On the other hand, more than 40% of our respondents have more than one credit card, which makes an intense competition between credit card issuers, China Merchant Bank and Bank of China. With this, we believe, credit card issuers should provide more value added services and maintain good communication to their credit card holders to increase brand loyalty and prevent them from switching to other credit card issuing banks.

Sep 8, 2010

Japan Quick Poll - Have you ever used a coupon service ?

From Japan - Here is the result of the quick poll we conducted on August 21 - August 22, 2010 about the coupon service.

Total respondents: 109,421

Question: Have you ever used a coupon service ?


Yes  : 35.5%
No     : 48.1%
I don't know: 16.4%

Japan - Long before the online coupon war started, traditional printed coupon service was very popular as a way of providing a premium discounted prices to the customers of restaurants, fast food shops, hair salons, and so on. It is very common for household wives to check and collect coupons before they purchase something at a regular price.

After seeing the big success by Groupon, the pioneer of the online coupon auction service in the United States, the huge online movement hit Japan very quickly. As of April 2010, almost 60 coupon auction service sites already opened in Japan which intensify competition.

One of the leading Japanese Groupon-like sites, Q:pod, was bought by Groupon in August. On the same day, they bought a Russian site. It is reported that Groupon will refurbish the site as Groupon Japan.

Premium coupons from restaurants, hair salons, luxury hotels are the popular items.

Sep 3, 2010

China Quick Poll - Which type of pop music do you like?

From China - Here are the results of the quick poll we conducted on 21th, Aug 2010 about
which type of pop music Chinese consumers like.

Total respondents: 12,404
Question: Which type of pop music do you prefer?

The results are as follows:
Taiwan/Hongkong pop 38.3%  
Mainland pop 36.3%
Western-style pop             12.7%
K-pop 4.1%
J-pop 3.0%
Other 5.5%

Results show that most Chinese consumers prefer Taiwan/Hongkong pop music, ranking at the top of the survey with 38.3%; however Mainland pop music not falling far behind with 36.3%.

These numbers manifest that mainland pop music can still go head to head with Taiwan/Hongkong pop music
while Korean and Japanese pop music are still a niche field for Chinese. However Korean pop music would be benefited from the Korean drama's impact in China as well.

Sep 1, 2010

Korea Quick Poll - When do you use SNS usually?

Here are the results of the quick poll we conducted on August 7, 2010 about when do Koreans usually use Social Networking Service (SNS).

Total respondents: 5,373

Question: When do you use SNS usually?

(c) SK communications.

Social Networking Service (SNS) by definition is an online service or site that focuses on building and reflecting of social networks or social relations among individuals (

Based on the quick poll we conducted in Korea, 40% of the respondents use SNS from 9p.m to 12m.n. since they are at home and already far away from the hassle of work. They can freely communicate to their friends and post updates of what happened to them the whole day.

In Korea, even though Twitter and Facebook are getting famous, Cyworld (www.cyworld.comis still the most popular social network service. Cyworld is founded by the SK Communications Inc., which provides an individual virtual space called “Minihompy” where people can manage their diary, photos, notes, and visitor wall just like the concept of Myspace ( This service started to get popular about 5 years ago. Today, most Koreans have their “Minihompy” just like their homes in the web.

Like the other Social Networking sites, Cyword has their specific terms too. For example, ll-chon, which means your friends ( or followers ( Il-chon is a Korean term which means the degree of blood relationship in the family. Another term used by Cyworld is Akon(dotori) which means a currency system used to buy items like wallpaper and BGM to decorate their space. Those terms are now being used in daily conversation among Koreans who have accessed to this Social Networking Site.

Social Networking Service has been a part of the daily routine for most Koreans. At present, catered the larger market share but Twitter and Facebook are starting to penetrate the Korean Market. Will be still on the spotlight after five years?

Aug 30, 2010

Japan Quick Poll - What do you think about the capital punishment system, for or against ?

From Japan - Here are the results of the quick poll we conducted during August 13 - August 14, 2010 about the capital punishment system.

Total respondents: 109,057

Question: Are you for or against to the death penalty?

For grave crime, Japan imposes the capital punishment. The morality and advantages of such a sanction, however, has been up for debate. Also, it makes the issue more complicated that  many serious crimes  has occurred in these years, while misleading scientific approach of investigation has been revealed at the same time through the judicial procedure.
In our poll, 69.8% of 109,057 respondents said that they agree with the implementation of capital punishment. 
But despite this seemingly favourable judgement for capital punishment, some still posted comments like the following: "This is very difficult problem for us"; "It might be not the best but there is no alternative to the death penalty". 

Last August 6, 2010, the Ministry of Justice's executive members held the first study session about the role of the capital punishment in the Japanese judicial system.  The members will continue to debate about how the capital punishment is used and enforced in other countries, and what would be the best justice system for Japan of this century.

Aug 18, 2010

Japan Quick Poll - Have you already changed your TV set to a digital TV?

Here is the result of the quick poll we conducted on August 5-6, 2010 about diverting analogue TV to Digital TV in Japan.

Total respondents: 96,697

Question: Have you already changed your TV set to a digital TV?


Changed already : 64.9%
Not yet                 : 33.0%
I don't have a TV set: 2.0%

The Japanese government is expecting that all households will move from analogue television sets to digital TV on July 24, 2011. However, after the implementation on December 2003, only 64.9% of the Japanese households did change their TV sets. It means that 33% will not be able to see any TV programs in a year if they will not be able to change their TV sets to digital. 

Suzu City is the first city who completed the move to digital broadcasting in Japan on July 24, 2010. Before the said move, the government conducted a test in digital broadcasting in the city twice. Further, they also delivered 4,148 pieces of digital tuner for necessary families for free. This is 23% of the total population of Suzu City. Suzu City of Ishikawa prefecture has 17, 476 citizens located in the north end of Noto Peninsula. This event will have a great impact once fully enforced nation-wide.

When digital broadcasting was first discussed around 15 years ago, there was limited internet accessibility. However, digital broadcasting opened a new way of accessing information through multimedia broadcasting wherein you can get text information while watching TV shows. These days, however, with advances in internet and mobile networks, information is readily accessible to people. Despite the 'high-definition' advantage that digital TV offers, the TV industry is still loosing its position as the primary media source, as the web continues to emerge as the main source of information. As a result, reasons for the Japanese government and TV industry to continue promoting this move from analogue to digital have decreased.

Nevertheless, the TV industry is still expecting that everyone will eventually join the move from analogue to digital TV. But then again, this move may give some people more reason not to watch TV. Even so, the results still remain to be seen.

Aug 17, 2010

China Quick Poll - Which type of car do you prefer if you buy a car?

From China - Here is the result of the quick poll we conducted on 6th,Aug 2010.
The topic was about the car purchasing.

Total respondents: 10,534

Question: Which type of car do you prefer if you buy a car?

  • Hatch back   4.7%     
  • Compact 38.5%
  • Mid Size 20.2%
  • Luxury 2.7%
  • MPV 2%
  • SUV 16.2%
  • Sports car 10.1%
  • Other/Not sure 5.7%

According to the result, 38.5% of the respondents prefer compact cars. Followed by the mid-sized Sedan with 20.2% and SUV with 16.2%. Chinese preferred huge and safe cars rather than sports cars being chosen with only 10.1% of the respondents.

Aug 13, 2010

Korea Quick Poll - What do you do while commuting?

From Korea - Here is the result of the quick poll we conducted on Aug. 5th.2010
The topic was 'How to spend their spare time while commuting'.

Total respondents: 6267

Question: What do you do while you commute?

Answers: More than half (51%) of the respondents voted listening to music while they commute, as public transportation like buses and trains are so crowded in the morning that they have limited space to do something else.
Many said they can do other things like reading newspaper or sending text messages while listening to music. 

Reading books or newspapers got the second highest vote (13%). Panelists read books that they bring with them or free newspapers that they can get easily nearby subway stations. 

In Korea, free tabloid newspapers are popular. They contain brief articles about politics, economics, and sports.

Other panelists said that they sleep (9%) or do nothing (11%) to take a break, while there are others who play mobile games (7%) to kill time. Recently you can find more people watching TV programs via Digital Multimedia Broadcasting (DMB) on their mobile devices. DMB is a digital radio transmission technology developed in South Korea as part of the national IT project.

It is really convenient to keep your eyes on a program you want to see. Many people turn on their DMB devices to watch their favorite programs while on their way home.

Today, most cell phones have the DMB function which is considered as the most important factor when buying a digital device.

contact us for further details from here

Aug 5, 2010

Korea Quick Poll - Do you have breakfast regularly?

From Korea - Here is the result of the quick poll we conducted on July 30th, 2010.
The topic was about the breakfast.

Total respondents: 5667

Question: Do you have a breakfast regularly?


More than half of panels answered eating breakfast regularly. However, over 40 percents of panels said they skip their breakfast since they are too busy to do stuffs in the morning.

It is known well that having breakfast is really important to keep healthy condition. It gives you the power to start your day, and also helps you balance your weight by preventing overeating at lunch.

By the way, what is the traditional breakfast in Korea? Koreans eat a breakfast based on rice usually. Rice, soup, and some side dishes including Kimchi (called ‘banchan’) are basic diet in the morning.

However, since lifestyle in Korea has been westernized, people eat western style breakfast, too. Bagel, toasted bread, and eggs with coffee are also favored nowadays.

Also for busy people, Misutgaru (roasted rice powder drink) and fruit juice are really popular as a substitute of the breakfast. It is really easy to make (what you have to do is just mixing powder in a water or a milk / turn it on your blender machine) and you can even drink while you commute. There are many recommendations of this posted to the survey for reasons like keeping health and saving time.

Aug 1, 2010

Japan Quick Poll - What are you going to do during the Bon holidays(around August 15) this year?

From Japan - Here is the result of the quick poll we conducted during July 20 - July 21, 2010. The topic was about the Japanese holidays called Bon.

Total respondents: 125,443

Question: What are you going to do during the Bon holidays(around August 15) this year?(single answer)


going back to hometown  18.6%
go on a trip                       9.6%
stay at home                   37.5%
work                                13.4%
I have not decide yet         16.7%
others                              4.2%

The Bon festival takes place every year around August 15.
This Buddhist festival is held to welcome the souls of the dead which are believed to return to their families during the Bon festival. Many companies and schools break for the Bon festival.

18.6% out of 125,443 panelists receive company holidays during the Bon period and going back to hometowns. People go back to their hometowns mainly to visit the graves where their ancestor rests, welcoming and seeing them off for the afterworld. Also, people enjoy the time with their relatives.
And according to the comments on the survey, many said that the would go back to hometown by car.

During the Bon period, public transportation(ex.a bus, an air plane) becomes extremely overcrowded and its fare will be overvalued pricing as there are millions of people who return to their hometown. A car with ETC, however,  gets a discount "uniformly 1,000 yen" because the Japanese government has applied the upper limit 1,000yen about holiday's high-speed way fare for an economic policy. since March 2009, though the highway is often blocked for 30kms at this period. In April 2009, according to Ministry of Land announcement, over 80% out of Japanese high-speed way driver using ETC.

Jul 29, 2010

Korea Quick Poll - Would you be willing to getting married to foreigner?

From Korea - Here is the result of the quick poll we conducted on July 24th 2010. The topic was 'International marriage'

Total respondents: 1765

Question: Would you be willing to getting married to foreigner?(single answer)

Answers: Yes - 45.67%  No - 54.33%

The ratio of 'No' is slightly higher. most of panels who answered 'No' said that "It is hard to understand different culture, language, and value system." On the other hand, most of the panels who answered 'Yes' said "With their beloved person, cultural difference doesn't matter."

Korea is a homogeneous society with absolute majority of the population of Korean ethnicity for a long time.( It is said that this might be a reason why Koreans tend to be conservative about accepting different cultures.

According to National Statistics Office, however, the ratio of international marriage increased dramatically from Y2000. International marriage is now accounted for about 10 percent of the total number of marriages in Y2009.

This is considerably related to rapid social changes in Korea. As one back ground of this phenomenon, economic development which started from 90s is pointed. It enables more Korean women to reach high education level, and to participate in the workplace. It delays woman's marriage and have some women set a higher standard towards marriage. As a result, it is reported that it is hard to get married domestically  and males start to see the overseas.

This is an interesting figure that might be an evidence of Korean society opens up themselves to other cultures more and more recently. Now you can see many foreigners on the streets in Seoul for business, travel, residence, etc. As a part of the global society, Korea has been changed to the society that respects the value of 'diversity'.

Jul 23, 2010

Korea Quick Poll - What kinds of movie do you like the most?

From Korea - Here is the result of the quick poll we conducted on July 17 2010. The topic was about the film genre people like.

Total respondents: 1,873

Question: What kinds of movie do you like the most?(single answer)

What kind of movie do you like the most?
Action    28.24%
Comedy  21.09%
Romance  13.88%
Thriller  11.00%
Drama  8.92%
Horror  6.67%
Animation  5.18%
Others  5.02%

Almost one third of the respondents chose Action as a favorite movie genre followed by Comedy(21.09%) and Romance(13.88%). Animation(5.18%) gains almost  as many votes as Horror(6.67%).

In Korea, Screen quotas system( has been executed since 1967, to protect and develop the Korean film making business. Currently, it is enforced that the theaters need to run at least 73 screening day per year of Korean movies. In 2006, Korea has recorded a total of 54.7 million of movie theater attendance(cf. the population of Korea is 48.3 milion).

What is your favorite film genre? Do you like to warm up your heart with sweet romance or get the shakes with horror? Bring some popcorn and enjoy your summer vacation with enjoyable movies!

Jul 22, 2010

Japan Quick Poll - Which shaved ice syrup do you like the best?

From Japan - Here is the result of the quick poll we conducted during July 19 - July 20, 2010. The topic was about the Japanese favorite shaved ice syrup.

Total respondents: 118,470

Question: Which shaved ice syrup do you like the best?(single answer)


  • Condensed milk:       28.1%
  • Strawberry:             27.7%
  • Green tea:              11.8%
  • Others:                   28.8%
  • Don't like shaved ice:  3.6%

The Japan Meteorological Agency announced the end of the rainy season, and the hot humid summer season started. In Ibaraki prefecture, it recorded a high of 38.9 degrees Celsius on July 21. It was reported that some people were suffered by heatstroke.

Shaved ice is a popular item for Japanese to cool down in the hot humid summer season. In a typical Japanese summer festival called "Matsuri", you can see a lot of food stands selling shaved ice with kids enjoying a cup of ice covered by a variety of colorful syrups.

This survey shows that only 3.6% of those answered don't like shaved ice. Condensed milk was the most favorite because of its soft and mellow sweet, and many who selected this seem to enjoy it mixed with strawberry syrup, green tea syrup and bean paste as per their comments posted to the survey.

Bean paste is a traditional Japanese sweet from the ancient time and it is still one of the most favorite of this age. Power of tradition is really strong.

Jul 15, 2010

Japan, China, Korea Quick Poll -What do you think about the economic situation in your country for next year?

From Japan, China and Korea - Here is the result of the quick poll we ran during Jun 25-July 9, 2010. The topic was about the prediction of economy.

Total respondents: 129,499 (JAPAN 117,852 / KOREA 1,654 / CHINA 9,993)
Question: What do you think about the economic situation in your country for next year?(SA)

*JAPAN  7/9/2010
  Very positive 1.2%
  Positive 8.2%
  Neutral  32.5%
  Negative  42.5%
  Very negative  15.6%

*CHINA 6/25/2010
  Very positive 15.80%
  Positive  34.60%
  Neutral 38.9%
  Negative 7.2%
  Very negative 3.50%

 *KOREA 7/5/2010
  Very positive 8.22%
  Positive 26.72%
  Neutral 40.57%
  Negative  21.34%
  Very negative 3.14%

In Japan, majority of people predict the economic will be gloomy, while only 1 out of 10 people in China think that their economic situation will slow down in the next year. In Korea, "Neutral" shows the highest rate(40.57%) and we can see that generally, people anticipate Korean economy relatively in an optimistic way.

China enjoys its economic growth most among three countries, and people think that the market will be bigger and bigger. In Korea, it's said by the media that their economy is getting better, though from the result of this poll, one quarter of people doubt it. Seeing from the comments in Japan, people are anxious about the influence of the economic crisis occurred in Greece, and the too-high value of yen.

What do you think about this result? In both good or bad way these three countries will surely get more and more attention from the world at least throughout this year!

contact us

Jul 1, 2010

KOREA QUICK POLL - What do you usually do on weekend?

From KOREA - Here is the result of the quick poll on June 27~29, 2010. Topic was about the usual way to spend a weekend.

Total answerers : 4,590
Question:What do you usually do on weekends?(SA)
just staying home  27.9%
seeing movies or performances  20.2%
enjoy sports &PC game  12.0%
social gathering with friends and the family  9.7%
short trip  7.5%
shopping  6.4%
religious activity  5.4%
learning/studying 3.9%
other 7.0%

27.9% of the respondents voted that they just stay at home on weekends. They said it is the best way to relax and rest up for the next weekdays. They also enjoy watching TV and doing online games.
Many Koreans like doing online games. One of the most popular games is "Nexon:Kartrider" and "Pmang:gostop".

Kartrider is a go-kart game. It is popular among all ages, especially among children.

gostop is a type of a Japanese playing card game of "flower cards". It is popular among the 30's-60's.

In addition to the examples above, there are many popular online games in Korea. If you're interested in Korean language, you may want to give it a try to play these games!

Jun 20, 2010

JAPAN QUICK POLL - Have you ever really "eaten" Chinese chili oil?

From Japan - Here is the result of a quick poll on June 20, 2010.
Topic was about the Chinese chili oil that is eatable as a dish, not as a seasoning,
which is currently booming in Japan with its completely new concept.

Total answerers:
Have you ever really "eaten" Chinese chili oil? (SA)
Yes 23.9%
No 76.1%

Traditional style Chinese chili oil is used like Tabasco "eatable as a dish" Chinese chili oil
has been successfully gaining a lot of attentions and many medias are writing about this boom.

Many restaurants are trying to use this new spice in their menus to ride on this trend!
How does it taste? Come and try!