Published - 2023/05/10
Meet the team: Jessica Yu
When it comes to qualitative research, it’s not just a question of speaking the language. Understanding the respondent’s culture is also key. This can be challenging even within Europe, for example, but crossing continents especially so.
Jessica Yu is Opticom’s bridge between Sweden and China. She first joined Opticom in 2017 on a project basis to help with research on the Chinese market. She then worked for several years for Air China, gaining valuable experience in data analytics and further research, before returning to Opticom in 2022.
“When the chance for a permanent position with Opticom came up, I grabbed it,” she smiles. “I really loved the international working environment at Opticom, and still do. Meaningful data from China is becoming increasingly important. I love to create added customer value by bringing an insight into my native China as well as my experience in data analytics.
“Research in China can be quite different to Western markets. Chinese culture is very structured with well-defined working models, with carefully defined job titles and layers of management. “China’s social media channels are different, as is market research. It’s very important to get it right from the start, even down to the way potential respondents are invited to participate in a survey. In the Chinese culture, even in Japan and Korea, the politeness and respect for seniority are taken very seriously. It’s not just a language difference but a different approach that is needed for the best results. We need to show understanding and professionalism from start to finish to get respondents fully on board. For example, it takes as little as an invitation letter coming from a junior with less attention to the salutations or the wording in the content can discourage a senior Asian culture manager from participating in a project.
“Everything we do in China is done with careful consideration of the culture and potential differences in behaviour, cultural barriers, sometimes even political sensitivities, etc. That’s why just recruiting native speakers is not enough, we need to ensure everyone we hire has both cultural as well as technical understanding of the issues involved so that we can be sure we will generate value for our clients.”