Mother Tongue Marketing
- learning about the language and customs of your customers so you can use marketing promotion techniques that will fit their culture
updated 2023 April 3rd

for a discussion of Canadian culture, see

For the students of Prof. W. Tim G. Richardson, Toronto, Canada
.. This unit is used in
MGT C46, MGS C44
MGT C44, MGS C44
IBM 600
CCT 322
MRK 200
MRK 460
. Not all of the material in this unit will be used in each of these courses; the amount of material covered will be indicated by the actual lecture given in class by the professor. Some courses cover this topic extensively, some courses deal with it briefly.
This webpage is referenced in 
Global Human Resource Management
Global Business Today
Hill, McKaig ... and Richardson
.... online learning centre of the publisher
2nd Edition 3rd Edition 4th Edition
.. Posted a video on YouTube May 11th introducing the purpose of this page. 

Students are welcome to add in information on particular countries not listed here (by emailing text to me), in addition, you can make comments in response to my YouTube posting about particular cultural things marketers might need to know about one of the countries mentioned below.

DISCLAIMER The comments on this list comes mostly from emails from my students who "represent" the different cultures below. Most words in each sentance, and the choice of grammar and syntax comes directly from each student email, without editing - unless you notice [ ].

If people who are reading this unit, disagree with the opinions expressed here, keep in mind these comments are expressed by students who are actually from these cultures and feel they have a right to freely express their opinion(s) as they chose. 

Sometimes "alternate points of view" are not expressed for the simple reason that no student has emailed to make such a contribution.

If you are a student of one of the cultures listed here, and wish to express an "alternate comment" you are invited to
email me (Prof. W.T.G.R.) and I'll probably include it.

It is not intended that these comments be considered  "rigid accurate, researched academic opinion" on the various countries and cultures - rather it is a simple list by students for students

However studying the information on this list would be considered valuable since such knowledge may help students in answering questions on a test that may cover the topic of cultural awareness in marketing.

, 2011 Nov
The Economist Magazine ran a story about Immigrant Diasporas and how they are an opportunity to stimulate the economy.

Diaspora - large numbers of a culture living outside the geographic area they originally came from

Chinese - there are more Chinese people living outside China than there are French people in France.

Ireland - worldwide, there are 80 million people of Irish descent - (among them are 41 million Americans who claim "Irish" as their primary ethnicity )the current population of Ireland (2011) is only 6.4 million

India - there are 22 million people from India living outside of India
1 million in Canada
2.8 million in United States
1.4 million in UAE
1 million in South Africa

Ukraine population 44 m
Russian population 144 m

2016 Canadian Census 
1,360,000 said they had Ukrainian ancestry
   622,000 said they had Russian ancestry


800,000 in England
740,000 in United States
230,000 in Canada

1.5 million in Canada
18 million in United States
20 million in Argentina

450,000 in Canada
1.3 million in United States
400,000 in England

The Canadian Consumer Market: Demographic and Economic Dimensions

Chpt 5 in the Shapiro, Wong, Perreault text used in MRK 200 discusses the demographic dimensions of the Canadian market - which was the impetus for this unit.

Part of the reason for creating this reference list is due to the fact that the students of Prof. Richardson come from many different countries and it might be helpful to have some ideas on what things you need to consider.

Is it useful to students, to have created such a list? Hasan S. a former student in MGTC46 and MGTD06 in 2009 emailed in June 2010 to say

"... wanted to thank you for allowing me to put you as a referrence, I did get the job at RBC and now am currently training as Account Manager at the bank  ... wanted to say that the unit on various cultures in c44 and c46 have been of great help to me as I have started my job. 

Since I see clients everyday of different backgrounds and cultures, it helps to have an  understanding of their culture and how to effectively and positively communicate with them. I still find myself going back to that specific page on your website to brush up on multicultural knowledge and tips before meeting clients. So wanted to say thank you!"

WTGR replies
Your kind words are appreciated Hasan and i am glad that the list is useful - especially since it is mostly former students like you that built it with your contributions. Good luck at RBC, we have many former UTSC and UTM students working there.


Map of the Caribbean, Central America, 
and top of South America

click map to view larger image
Dominican Republic
Puerto Rico
Trinidad and Tobago
11 million
8 million
7 million
3.5 million
3 million
1 million

Things in Caribbean culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Jamaican people
- patois slang
- there are several countries in the Caribbean but the largest one that represents students in Toronto is Jamaica - Jamaicans in Toronto are greater in number than all other Caribbean islands put together (in Montreal it is Haitians)
- the use of famous singers eg. The Hon. Robert N. Marley
- reggae music
- colours (red, gold, green ) Rasta colours
- Reggae Boyz, soccer football [the Jamaican soccer team that qualified for the World Cup]
- dominoes
- Red Strip Beer
- American influenced pop culture [clothing, food]
- Jamaicans have more slang words for marijuana than Inuit have words for snow
The Jamaican Bobsled Team was an Olympic bobsledding team that gained fame during the 1988 Winter Olympic Games in Calgary. Later a movie was made about their exploits.

Click on the pic to the left to see a pic of WTGR sitting by the original Jamaican bobsleigh at the bobsleigh bar in Montego Bay

contributed by these students
Stephanie, Carrie, Anthony, Natalie, Andrea

pop 1.5 million
Things in Trinidadian culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Trinidad and Tobago  people
Trinidad and Tobago is known for it’s lively culture and diversity. The culture is reflective of Indian, African, Indigenous, European, Chinese, Latin, and Arab cultures

- The island is composed of two islands and is the southernmost island in the Caribbean Sea.

- Primary language is English. However, Trinidadians are known for their animated reactions, outlandish expressions, and local slang. Would be pertinent for advertisements to add some common phrases.

- Ethnically, the two largest groups are Black (Afro-Trinidadians) and Indians (Indo-Trinidadian), with others such as Latins, Chinese, Arabic, and German/European.

- The food of the island varies similarly to the respective ethnicities, with major influences of African, Indian, Chinese and Latin dishes.

- Trinidad and Tobago served as a colony for the Spanish Empire, French Empire and for the longest, the British Empire. These influences have created customs that impact the culture of the Nation to this day.

- While gaining it’s independence in 1962, Trinidad and Tobago, the country is still considered part of the British Commonwealth. As such, Trinidadians see value in products and services that are associated with the British.

- Major religions include Christianity, Hinduism, Catholicism, and Islam
- The island is composed of two islands and is the southernmost island in the Caribbean Sea.

- Primary language is English. However, Trinidadians are known for their animated reactions, outlandish expressions, and local slang. Would be pertinent for advertisements to add some common phrases.

- Ethnically, the two largest groups are Black (Afro-Trinidadians) and Indians (Indo-Trinidadian), with others such as Latins, Chinese, Arabic, and German/European.

- The food of the island varies similarly to the respective ethnicities, with major influences of African, Indian, Chinese and Latin dishes.

- Trinidad and Tobago served as a colony for the Spanish Empire, French Empire and for the longest, the British Empire. These influences have created customs that impact the culture of the Nation to this day.

- While gaining it’s independence in 1962, Trinidad and Tobago, the country is still considered part of the British Commonwealth. As such, Trinidadians see value in products and services that are associated with the British.

- Major religions include Christianity, Hinduism, Catholicism, and Islam

contributed by student Rhea 2023 March

pop. 250,000
Things in Caribbean culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to people from Barbados
Barbados is known as "Little England" and therefore assumes a lot of  British practices and indeed the capital Bridgetown resembles London.
- Barbados is very proud of its 99.7% literacy rate as defined by the  CIA at
- Because of the high literacy rate Bajans (the term for Barbadian)  prefer advertising with intellectual wit
- They also prefer products with a British "feel" to them
- The youth prefer highly Americanized products and services but they  must be the latest thing.  Anything obsolete or not meeting current  world standards will get little sales.
- The older people prefer British products and ideals
- The workplace and schools prefer British products and ideals
- Barbadians tend not to respect marketing done in the Bajan dialect  unless it is for the purpose of humour
- Barbados has 4% Caucasian people versus 90% black people and this has  led to a kind of worshipping of Caucasians 
- therefore marketing  (using Caucasian figures for respect) is usually more effective unless,  of course it is trying to be humourous.
- Older Barbadians like Spouge, calypso and reggae while younger ones  tend to live Soca, Dancehall and Hip Hop.
- Anything endorsed by Rihanna will get attention because she is  Barbados' first platinum superstar
- Barbados is a very religious country and therefore blatantly sexual  advertising is not highly tolerated, indeed the press has a field day  with Rihanna's revealing outfits.
contributed by these students
Tara (CCT 322 UTM Jan. 2007)
Latin America


Things in Mexican culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to  people in Mexico
contributed by Saul N. in MRK460
Latin America


Things in Panamanian culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to  people in Panama
- Panamanian wardrobe is all shorts and mini skirts to complement the very hot weather (says a young female student who lives there)
- Central Americans like 'hot' tropical colours, like bright yellow, green, pink, red.
- some panamanian slangs that are considered teenager-lingo (for products targetting teenagers): Q'xopa! (What's up?), Parkear ( To chill), Esta del K-rajo! (That's so cool!)
- Mainstream musical preferences are definitely: salsa, merengue, tipico and reggaeton
- Another predominant aspect is the social, friendly atmosphere, where people kiss each other on the cheeks to say hi and bye... a MUST (So when you go to a party with 50 people...that's 100 kisses!) being friendly is very important.
- Dancing and not drinking is more dominant in Panamanian parties
- For food, Panamanians love banana, coconut rice and pinacolada! 
- in Panama people speak Spanish and English
contributed by Eliza (UTSC C44 student from Panama)

Map of South America

click map to view larger image

Latin America Things in Latin American culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Latino people
Argentina - Tango
Peru ? Chile - the native indians are a large part of the population
Christian religious figures
Taco Bell dog - chihuahua
- in Brazil they speak Portuguese not Spanish
contributed by Andrew
Latin America



Things in Peruvian culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to  people in Peru
Peru has a very complex socioeconomic environment.
Race/Class/Money is a big issue that stands out to any advertisers
The country is divided into different "layers" .  You have the poor.  The
typical scene you see in infomercials asking you to donate $1/month to help
a village.  Then you have the country's "working class".... this within itself has a wide income range.  Then you have the white people.  The white people are the elite.  They live in a different world.  When marketing to Peruvians you have to keep in mind the differences because what appeals to one sector has nothing to do with what appeals to the other sector. 
The working class is more "show off".  They are of darker skin, loud, 
rambuntious, and will buy anything "shiny", big jewelery, little integration with the english language etc.  The white part of the contry is considered the "Creme de la creme".  They live in a "mini USA" environment, where they only drive expensive imported cars, wear big brands (Ralph Lauren, Tommy, Gucci etc).  They are very brand and image culture.  English is a large part of their culture.  Not so much because they speak english but because they travel a lot, often sending their children for a year in the USA, they are attracted to anything that has english in it. 

Any  advertising ad with an english sentence and they are sold on the product no matter what.  They believe in quality food, quality drink and quality partying.  They are
exposed to the best of everything and a very stress free quality of life. They are educated, most kids in the newer generation will be dependent on their parents until after graduate school and over 70% of them go to grad school.  If you are going to market a product in Peru, you either market it to one or to the other, what one group buys will not be bought by another group.

contributed by Silvia (UTM student from Peru)

Things in Mexican culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Mexican people Video uploaded to YouTube by students in MRK200 in Sept 2010

10 min 28 sec

Sherry X, Karen Y, Vazgen T, Anastasia M, and Claudia O.


Things in Guyanese culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Guyanese people
We are also from the Caribbean but our culture is split in two. We have the Guyanese whose ancestors are from Africa and then we have the Guyanese whose ancestors are from India. These two groups even though both call themselves Guyanese have many differences in their culture. This is what causes most of the problems in Guyana, a clash of cultures, even though everyone there is Guyanese. I am the Guyanese with ancestors from India in which my mother and father's great grandparents originally came from India. Even though that is so, many generations back we still have a lot of the Indian culture within us. We wear there traditional clothing, listen to their music, watch their movies and eat the same types of food just with different spices. Some of my relatives can even speak relatively fluent Hindi. We commonly get mistaken for people from India. I for one love Indian music but don't understand a word of Hindi!...
contributed by Abdul K. from C44 in Jan 2010

Things in Suriname culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Surinamese people

Although Suriname is geographically part of South America it considers itself part of the Caribbean (like its neighbour Guyana)

Surinamese cuisine is a mix of Indian, Chinese, Javanese and Native Surinamese dishes.

In some countries around the world where you might do business there may be "political risk" situations that you need to understand.

Desi Bouterse led a military coup in 1982 to become president. The Dutch government (Holland previously held Suriname as a colony) convicted Bouterse on drug smuggling charges. Desi Bouterse's son is Dino Bouterse, a convicted drug trafficker and allegedly involved with the Islamic Hezbollah.
contributed by Brendan T. from IBM600 in July 2014
A simple map of Asia is not simple, meaning different people consider different countries to be part of Asia
- for example most Asia maps show Australia, but not far enough south for New Zealand, which begs the question "Are Australia and New Zealand (who are neighbours) in separate regions?"
- also, the question of how wide do you go, if Asia includes China, then right under China is India - if India is in Asia is it's neighbour Pakistan also in Asia? or is Pakistan in the Middle East cause it is beside Afghanistan?
- if you click on the map to the left you can see a larger image which shows the the 3 divisions of Asia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East as adhered to by the U.N.

pop. 4.6 million
Things in Singapore culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Singapore people
- Singlish slang (A mix of the different languages and dialects spoken added into English)
- A large percentage of Singaporeans are able to understand, speak and write English. English is the official First language in Singapore.
- There are three official ethnic groups in Singapore : Chinese, Malays and Indians.
- There are many festive seasons and important holidays in Singapore due to its variety of different ethnic groups and religions. Many companies use these festive seasons as themes to promote their products. The main  in Singapore that one should be aware of are - Chinese New Year, Buddhist Vesak Day, Muslim Eid ul-Fitr alias Hari Raya Puasa), Hindu Diwali alias Deepavali, Christmas, Good Friday, New Year's Day and last but not least National Day (Independence Day).
- Other days that Singaporeans typically celebrate are :
Valentines Day, Teachers' Day, Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day
- Thanksgiving Day or Boxing Day are non-existent in Singapore.
- Major school holidays for grade schools to high schools are in the month of June and in the month of December.
- Summer vacations are non-existent in Singapore since every day is a summer day
- Singaporeans love to watch movies at theatres (A movie ticket ranges between (CND$5-$8) depending on location and day of the week - Jan 2007)
- GST is included on what you see on the price tags.
- It is not uncommon for Malays and Indians in Singapore to understand and/or speak Mandarin
- It is not uncommon for Chinese or Indians in Singapore to understand and/or speak Malay
- Singaporeans generally do not favour Singaporeans speaking English in an American/foreign accent. May be seen as annoying.
- Racial harmony exists in Singapore.
- Unlike Canada, Singaporeans, despite their race or where their ancestors were originally from, identifies themselves as Singaporeans.
- People follow trends for food (Example: It was a trend to drink Taiwanese Bubble tea around the years of 1999-2002; In 2005, it was a trend to eat a new type of pastry - "Rotiboy")
contributed by these students
Weifang (UTM student in Jan 2007)

pop. 48 million
Things in Korean culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Korean people
- South Korea is properly called Republic of Korea or ROK, North Korea is called Democratic People's Republic of Korea - don't mix them up !!
- South Koreans generally use the term "Han'guk" to refer to their country
- Taekwondo is their national martial art and they think they are very good at it - it is also an Olympic sport
- Kimchee - boiled cabbage , a popular food
- do NOT use Red as the main colour in marketing a product - this colour is associated with communism
- young Koreans are different than middle aged Koreans due to Intl' events such as soccer World Cup 2002
- young Korean men hate compulsory military service but they talk about their service time a lot (like being proud to have been in the Korean Marines)
- Korean flag is hard to draw so if you want to use that symbol, better have a Korean person do it
- Korean food is more spicy than Japanese food
- drinking alcohol is a big part of bonding for social and business circumstances
- there are many mannerisms to follow when drinking, such as filling up your partners glass
(do not fill a glass half full, you only do that for dead people)
- like Chinese and Japanese people, the number # 4 is bad luck
- # 3 is a lucky number, so is # 7
- do not assume religion, do not generalize that all Koreans you meet are Buddhists
- do not mention WW2 and the Japanese occupation (last emperor of Korea was slaughtered by the Japanese forces)
- do not disrespect elders - it is socially acceptable that they strike out at you if you jostle or bump them
contributed by these students
Daniel, Kim, Sung, and a lot of help from UTSC C44 TA Joe Park

pop. 127 million
Things in Japanese culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Japanese people
- Japanese people use Chinese characters for writing (they call them Kanji) but, the pronunciation is different
- Bonsai
- kite flying
- kimono
- Martial arts, Samurai, Sumo, Judo, Karate, Kendo
- Sushi
- extreme pressure to do well in school and get into a good university
- sogoshosha, keiretsu
- kaizen, TQM, J.I.T.
- Sakura (cherry blossom)
- young Japanese women have a very high disposable income, which means companies around the world want to be successful marketing consumer products to them - they lead consumer trends in Asia - food, clothing, entertainment Video uploaded to YouTube by students in MRK200 in Sept 2010

Contributed by students Derrick W., Timur K., and Stephanie F.

8 min 29 sec

(Prof. Richardson lived in Tokyo 1983-1985)
originally contributed by these students
Kam, Hsiuhui,  Bevneet, Karol, Edison

pop. 87 million
Things in Vietnamese culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Vietnamese  people
- Saigon is the old name for the "Ho Chi Minh city".  The city is named after 
Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh who contributed greatly to the liberation of the 
city/country from foreign governments.  Many people prefer Ho Chi Minh city due
to this political reason. 
- Ho Chi Minh's picture is printed on all Vietnamese bills so sometimes people 
use the slang term "Cu Ho" or "Bac Ho"( both of them mean roughly "Uncle Ho") 
to refer to Vietnamese bills. 
- A few people speak French, especially those from the South - however it is mostly the older generations, English is the new "hot" language. 
- Just like many Asian countries, Vietnamese viewers, especially young adults, 
love Japanese and Korean soap operas. 

in an email Jan 30th, 2012, Sylvia T. suggested
"There are different "types" of Vietnamese people - they are categorized into what part of Vietnam they are from. For example, "Bac" people are known to be more proper with their speaking - slang is looked down upon. "Nam" people are known to be more laid-back and casual in their language, using a lot of slang.
They will judge you quickly on your appearance. That will decide how their attitude will be towards you."

contributed by these students
Vicky, Sylvia

pop. 1.3 billion
Things in Chinese culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Chinese people December 2009 a student in MGTC44 made a humourous and informative video, which he kindly posted on YouTube, covering some common misperceptions and mistakes in dealing with Chinese culture.

Comments by various students about Things in Chinese culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Chinese people
- using dragons in symbols can be helpful to identify Chinese culture
- chinese characters
- important to understand that within China there are several sub-cultures and regional dialects which are different
- the colour red is a big part of marketing promotions
- Yao Min replaced Michael Jordan - Chinese people now have their own intl superstar athlete
- nice cars are important symbol of status
- Will Hung (nuff said)
- red lanterns
- avoid use of the number 4, lucky numbers 88, 8 - because gambling is a big part of the culture
- place in the restaurant varies deities such as "God of Wealth"
- Hong Kong and Southern Chinese people go to Dim Sum every day
-It is important to know that a couple is able to have only one child in the family stated by the Chinese law (still true in 2007)
- Mahjong- a very popular game (played with tiles) that most Chinese people know
- Chinese outside of China are not confined to just Markham/Spadina, Vancouver and San Francisco, it is estimated that the are 37 million people in 136 countries who consider themselves ethnically Chinese from Hong Kong, Taiwan and the PRC
- myth, the largest population of Chinese outside China is Toronto (1 million) - wrong the number of Chinese in Indonesia is over 7 million, 6 million in Thailand, 5 million Malysia, 2.3 million Singapore.
-Tapping your four fingers down on the table means “Thank you” (or to show appreciation) and normally you do it when you’re eating in a Chinese restaurant. For instance, when someone helps you to refill your cup of tea you should do that.
-The “Face” concept is another cultural thing you should know when marketing to Chinese people. It is about the image and credibility of a person. To make sure you don’t cause a person to lose “Face” you should never make the person feel ashamed, embarrassed or just feel bad, especially in front of other people. 
- The whole concept of family is extremely important to the Chinese market, while there is more and more western influence in China to be more “independent” and “individualistic”, but the significance of family is still the keystone of the Chinese culture. Chinese parents raise their kids as part of retirement planning. - says Eddie
-A lot of people in China believe in spirits and ghosts even though they didn’t see one before.
- Since the government generally doesn't support wide-spread religious 
practices and beliefs in the media, ghost or horror movies sometimes are 
required to have alternative endings e.g. they want to see an ending that 
suggests everything happened in the movie as a dream or an illusion. 

- Disparity between rural and urban incomes is huge
- people in the city make two and a half times as much as rural people
- residence permits called "hukou" restrict rural people moving to the cities
- rural people "illegally" living in the city have no access to schools or hospitals

contributed by these students
Carrie, Pan, Joe, Gavin, Rajiv, Qiong, Bo, Yanwei, Yuan Xiu, Han, Rosetta, Eddie, Vicky, Jessie C., 

pop. 1.3 billion
Things in Chinese culture you should know about to be able to successfully understand their languages
click Map of the different languages in China


contributed by WTGR, 
Hong Kong SAR

Special Adminitrative Region

Hong Kong SAR flag
- used beginning in 1997

old flag of 
Hong Kong 
during British rule
- up to 1997

Flag of the Qing dynasty

Things in Hong Kong Chinese culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Hong Kong
from Vincent, 2019 Jan

Comments by various students about Things in Hong Kong culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Hong Kong people

Here's some local info of Hong Kong, SAR. (We just call it Hong Kong FOR LIFE - same idea as calling Rogers Centre as SkyDome, or Scotiabank Centre as ACC)

It's pronounced as "Hurn Gorn" in Cantonese. The Chinese name of HK is ??; literally means Fragrant Harbour since its origin began as a modest seaport closely tied to UK, and later to the world.

- Despite Hong Kong has the ownership returned to China in 1997, the majority do not consider themselves belonging to China. They are still reminiscing the time under the British rules. They call themselves as Hongkongers.

- Hong Kong locals speak Cantonese and English (depends on their learning efforts at schools). They prefer western cultures and do not mind dealing with foreign people such as Gwai Lo (Caucasians) from other parts of the world. The only limitation is the language.

- Even though Hong Kong is an international city comprised of people from all over the world (significant amount!), the "foreigners" live in certain areas in either close to the financial core of Central ?? (places like Sheung Wan, Mid-levels), or secluded areas in HK Islands (Lantau Island - mainly in Discovery Bay) and New Territories (Sai Kung).

- There is a significant amount of Canadians living in Hong Kong (I have had conversations with them personally)

- Foodie culture is a major part of Hong Kong life. You may find varieties of cuisines (cheap to top-notch) from all over the world.

- Music preferences: Canto-pop, Mando-pop from Taiwan (some China), as well as North American billboard 100 and UK-pop

- Hongkongers are fond of Japanese and Korean cultures. Japan and Korea are their travel hotspots.

- Due to political changes in recent years, living in Hong Kong becomes much tougher. Majority of locals has become less confident in the government due to negative impacts to the HK political systems caused by the regime of Chinese government.

- Since Hong Kong is a fast-paced metropolitan with international cultural dynamics, successful marketing in HK is proven to be a challenging feat.

contributed by these students
Vincent W. 2019Jan30 
Chinese Canadians

pop. 1 million+ 

mostly in Vancouver and Toronto region

Things in Chinese culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to people of Chinese background in Canada
- Canadian born Chinese (which can be considered an oxymoron)
- immigrants to Canada from China

(NOTE: some students of Chinese background have commented that it is a very sensitive issue whether you use the term "Chinese Canadians", which emphasizes the "Chinese" part of the term, or Canadians of Chinese background, which emphasizes that these people feel they are Canadian first.)

In May 2013 Student Sam Y. in IBM 600 emailed to explain a situation where a municipality is changing the way streets are numbered.

Sam wrote
My town (Richmond Hill) has decided that all new addresses will no longer use the number 4 (the same policy is in place with the number 13) due to the high number of Chinese residents in this town.  A person with a house number of 44 hasn't been able to sell his house for 10 months.

As a Chinese Canadian (albeit one who has been in Canada since age 1), I am simultaneously baffled yet humbled by the willingness and lengths the GTA will take to be 'culturally sensitive' in their policies.

It obviously makes for effective marketing too.

WTGR writes
Thanks Sam - an interesting story and controversial too. Some people from the non-Chinese community are upset that "local politics" is seen to be "pandering" to such cultural influences, other people don't care and simple say it reflects what happens when a particular immigrant population reaches high numbers proportionate to the original inhabitants.
Ethnic naming In the GTA we have an example of how the western part of Toronto was named "Rivi?re du Credit" by the original French trappers (in the 1700's)  - which came from the Mississauga Indians who had called it the "trusting river" because of how they traded with the French based on trust.

In the mid 1800's the large number of Irish immigrants saw the name changed to Erindale - Erin is the word for Ireland - Irish people call is "?ire".

Erindale is also the original name of the University of Toronto Mississauga Campus founded in 1965.


contributed by these students Sam Y.
pop. 23 million
Things in Taiwanese culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Taiwanese people
 FYI - Taiwan officially referred to as ROC - Republic of China, whereas "China" is referred to as PRC Peoples Republic of China - small difference in words - big difference on the world stage since Taiwan's status as an independent country is a contentious issue with China. video made by MRK200 students Mudar, Sharon, Nicole, Jameson in Sept 2010

posted on YouTube

11 min 49 sec

contributed by these students
Mudar, Sharon, Nicole, Jameson

pop. 88 million
Things in Filipino culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Filipino people
1. The country is spelled Philippines and people from the Philippines 
call themselves Filipino.
- some people refer to it as P.I. (Philippine Islands)
2. Most Filipinos speak in Taglish (mix of English and Filipino). 
There are also 13 indigenous languages with at least one million 
native speakers: Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilokano, Hiligaynon, Waray-Waray,
Kapampangan, Bikol, Albay Bikol,Pangasinan, Maranao, Maguindanao, 
Kinaray-a, and Tausug.
3. English fluency depends on the person's education.
4. About 80% of Filipinos are Christians (most are Catholics due to the Spanish infleunce) , 20% are Muslims. Most  Muslims live in the southern part of the Philippines, Mindanao
5. Almost all Filipino youth can play the guitar
6. Filipinos favorite hobbies and past time: tv, basketball, 
badminton, guitar, going to neighbors' houses, staying outside the 
house and hanging out with neighbors, eating streetfoods, playing loud 
music, swimming, beach, movies, playing cards, karaoke, drinking 
outside their house, live concerts
7. Everyone knows their neighbors
8. Filipinos love bargaining for a lower price
9. Filipinos adores street sales and street foods
10. FIlipinos love to gossip
11. Most Filipinos in the Philippines love skin whitening products. 
Mestiza look is favored in the Philippines.
12. Filipinos strongly hate it when a Filipino answers in English to 
them, when they are talking to him in Filipino.
13. Filipinos respect their elders
14. Filipinos hate it when people are being very showy
15. Filipinos listen to a wide variety of music: Filipino music, 
American rock/metal/alternative music, Hiphop, Japanese Rock music,
16. Young Filipinos tend to identify themselves as: Conyo(Rich, Fluent 
in English, high-class), Rocker, Hiphop, Typical Filipino, or a mix of
any of them
17. Public display of affections is a NO in Philippines
18. Filipinos are happy people even when they don't have money.
19. Everyone has a celphone, even the poor. Everyone loves sending and 
receiving forwarded texts of inspirational quotes.
most celebrated holidays:
Christmas- going to Church, Dawn Masses, eating bibingka after masses, 
giving gifts, Christmas Caroles, Christmas trees, lanterns and lights
New Year- Everyone do Fireworks and noises.
All Souls day- Cemeteries are always packed during Oct 31-Nov 1. There 
are food, candle and flower sales in the cemetery.
- sending money back home
- Tagalog language uses a lot of Spanish words
- brand names are important for clothing
- heavy American influence
- family values
(Prof. Richardson lived in the Philippines in 1998)

 Hazelle F

contributed by these students
Michele, Steve,  Hazelle F added some in March 2010

pop. 21 million
Things in Australian culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Australian people
images related to animals which are specific to Australia, like the Kangaroo, Koala Bear
- some Australians are very proud of the fact that the origins of the country is based on convicts from England being sent there in the 1800's
contributed by these students

pop. 1.1 billion

Things in East Indian culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to East Indian people
Firstly, India is the world biggest democracy, meaning the gap between the rich and poor is widest and the extremes of democracy show through here more than in any other country.  That however is just one of the democracies that exist (rich poor gap). other include the bollywood vs. hollywood battle, and traditional vs. modern cultural standards.  Education is hugely popular for those who can afford it and is heavily stressed by parents and elders.  Elders are still very much respected (compared to western culture).

- pictures of God - religious deities of many types
- large % of the population speak English - in fact, some claim it is the largest English speaking country in the world
- tieka
- Ghandi transcends all cultures within India
- Bollywood, entertainment industry, these actors are used in commercials
- cricketeers, famous players can be used in marketing
- cricket is a religion in India the whole nation comes to stop (What Hockey is to Canada, Cricket is to India)
- singing and songs and dancing used in commercials
(one of the things that came out of a conversation at UTM in Jan 2007 was that some Indian students do not like to lumped in with other Indians of different faiths and they would prefer to be referred to as Sikhs, Hindis etc. as opposed to Indians in general - this opinion was shared differently among different students from India)
- a Seneca student says that within Indian culture, the words Indians is not used and in fact it is more common to refer to each other as "desi"
- hand greeting postures depend upon the rank / relationship to the other person
(matha, pitha, guru, deviam)
- regional languages are often more popular than Hindi, and as such English is more often used in marketing and advertising.  Regional languages are more important that people consider, just knowing there are 100's of languages with multiple dialects for each isn't enough to understand the nature of language in Indian culture.

contributed by these students
Rajiv, Jia, Steve, Chandraseka, Mike

in early Jan 2010, Ashok S. wrote a long piece about India, which I have replicated here

. students Jessica A. and Lovelesh K. in MGTC44 at UTSC in March 2010 created a YouTube video
on some things you should be aware of when dealing with business people in India - it is amusing and informative.
fff student Jalpesh in MRK 200 in Sept 2010 made a video in which he commented about the challenges of India's population and diversity of languages

Sri Lanka

pop. 20 million


Things in Sri Lankan culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Sri Lankan people
- Sri Lanka was known as Ceylon before 1972
The ethnic division of Sri Lanka’s population is: Sinhalese 74%, Tamil 18%, Moor 7%, Burgher, Malay, and Vedda 1%. Major languages in Srilanka are: Sinhala 74% (official and national), Tamil 18% (national), other 8%. English is commonly used in government and spoken competently by about 10% of people. 
- Sri Lanka has a good climate for holiday-makers throughout the year.
contributed by these students
Sri Lanka


Things in Sri Lankan culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Sri Lankan Tamil people
- Sri Lanka, the country  is currently in a state of conflict
- some people say the conflict (Sinhalese vs. Tamil) is violent, some say it is not too violent, it depends on what side you support
- the majority of the population in Sri Lanka (70-75%) are Sinhalese
- Tamils represent 5-10% of the population in Sri Lanka, depending on who is the source of counting

- A Tamil student says "One major thing to know when selling to Sri Lankan Tamils is to be very friendly. We don’t really care about the facts and essays of information; we would usually buy if the seller is nice."

- another Tamil student said about the flag "I have attached the flag of proud Tamils with this e-mail. The colors on the flag are very important because it represents not only our pride, but red, yellow, and black is what we symbolize."

- India is reported as having once armed and trained the terrorist group Tamil Tigers
- in Canada, about 80% of people from Sri Lanka are Tamil
- the government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam formalized a cease-fire in February 2002,
- whether the Tigers are called Terrorists or Freedom Fighters depends on your perspective as to the source of the conflict but it remains a very sensitive issue for Canadians since Canada has the largest population of Tamil people outside Sri Lanka and many Canadian newspapers report that most Tamils support the "Tigers"
 - the Tigers are considered terrorists by the Canadian RCMP and CSIS, however many Canadian politicians have been seen at public events raising money for the Tigers so there is inconsistency with how they are treated
- Paul Martin was criticized for supporting the Tamil separation movement (to get votes among Tamils in Toronto) but not supporting the Quebec separation movement?
- if you want to sell to Tamil people in Toronto (and there is a large populatiom here) you can use images like a Tiger and people will think you support the Tamil Tigers

contributed by these students
Anonymous, Sriskaran K.

pop. 162 million

Things in Pakistani culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Pakistani people
- between Afganistan (to the west) and India (to the east)
- many times in recent decades the head of the government has been a military leader
- large % of the population speak English
- cricketeers, famous players can be used in marketing
- singing and songs and dancing used in commercials
- some sources claim 200,000 people in Canada of Pakistani origin
- most Pakistanis in Canada come from Punjab and Sindth province, which includes the big cities of Lahore (to the north) and Karachi (at the very south on the coast)
- Punjabi language in Pakistan is also spoken by people in N.W. India
- strong influence of Islamic culture
- holding hands in public is a problem (PDA)
- earthquake prone country - last one in October 2005

While there are a number of significant countries in the Middle East, it was not until late 2006 that any Seneca or 
U of T student in one of my classes volunteered to make a contribution about the circumstances there

By 2012 the number of Muslim students at the campuses I teach at, has grown in number and there are more contributions coming in.

2014 July 9th
Many non-muslim students have become aware of Ramadan and the consequences for Muslim students.

Student Shrooq R. wrote an informative piece about the fasting part of Ramadan and how this applies to doing business with Muslim people. Shrooq's contribution is here


map at
In the Feb 19th-25th 2011 edition of "The Economist" magazine, there was a special map and briefing on the Arab world.
Palestinian Diaspora

contributed by Yahya Al-Mashni from UTM in Feb 2015
several million in

several hundreds of thousands in Latin America in

El Salvador


pop. 29 million

Things in Iraqi culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to the region
- although currently (2002-2007) there is an active war in the country, people still do business in the middle of a war
- UN agencies and other military groups import food and equipment and Iraqi businesses export a variety of products through different methods
- the Cdn Dept. of Foreign Affairs says about Iraq "Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against all travel to this country"
- there is no Embassy of Canada in Iraq 
importance of Islamic religion and understanding the split between the main groups
- Arabic, Kurdish (official in Kurdish regions), Assyrian, Armenian
- Iraq was historically known as Mesopotamia, which literally means "between the rivers". This land was home to the world's first known civilization. 
- an Iraqi student at UTM says "People in Iraq are so proud of their past and their history that they spent too much time about what they did and will forget sometimes to talk about the future. You can see that from where Iraq was and where is it right now"
- Muslim 97% (Shi'a 60%-65%, Sunni 32%-37%), Christian or other 3%
Sunni government rule Iraq for more than 5 decades, but Christians and other minorities were treated the best throughout these years. 
- Iraq has more oil resources that any other country in the world… not production I said resources, the people could’ve been the richest citizens on the globe because there is only 27 million of them, but they were taken back in time at least a century … to the point where people had to go their water from beside the river, [there was no municipal water supply]. 
- The government of Saddam Hussein made a schedule for the times each of the 18 major cities in Iraq will get power (electricity) ?such an organized regime!  Some cities will get power for 12 hours a day other will get 2 hours only! Great example of equality!
- Throughout the 90s and until 2002 the average salary for employees who work for the government were around 5000 Dinars, and you have to pay 1500 Dinars for a Dozen of eggs! ? So you know how comfortably the people are living
contributed by Firas of UTM

pop. 71 million

The Cdn Dept. of Foreign Affairs has in the past said about Iran "Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against all travel to this country"
- DFAIT says "you are advised against all travel to the Sistan and Baluchestan province in southeastern Iran as this region is regularly affected by ethnic conflicts and there have been a number of kidnappings involving foreign tourists in that province. For the same reasons, you are also advised against all travel to the Khuzestan province."
Things in Iranian culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to the region

importance of Islamic religion and the role in government
- in Iran, a popular food is shish kabob
- Iranian people do not speak "Iranian" - they speak Farsi
- the country was called Persia up until 1935
Mahla M. (a Seneca student from Iran)  in MRK460 Section MT in March 2013 added a whole page on her opinion of Iranian culture and some interesting things
 uploaded March 13th, 2013


pop. 10 million


Things in Jordanian culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Jordanians.
The official language is Arabic, and English is the first foreign language.

Jordanian society is a mixture of Jordanians, Palestinians, Armenians, Circassians, Kurds, and others. 

Jordan is distinguished by the diversity of cultures that harmonize together within an environment of tolerance and respect. Its people are known for being hospitable, love to help others, and respect their customs and traditions a lot, especially in rural areas????. 
The Jordanian "Mansaf" is a popular and tradition dish that is served on occasions and for guests.

Jordan's economy is well diversified despite the difficulties it faces and the fact that it is relatively small. 

Most of the GDP comes from the trade and finance sector, which together account for about a third of the output, while the transportation, communications, public utilities, and construction sectors contribute a fifth. GDP, which is the same value to which the industrial and mining sector contributes. And agriculture in Jordan constitutes 70% of the GDP.

contributed 2021 Sept by Rasha H.

pop. 4 million


Things in Lebanese culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to the region

Ethnic Groups:  Arab 95%, Armenian 4%, other 1%
Note: many Christian Lebanese do not identify themselves as Arab but rather as descendents of the ancient Canaanites and prefer to be called Phoenicians

contributed by Hamsa G.D.

pop. 900,000

click to see larger

Things in Qatar culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to the region
- Qatar is an oil and gas rich nation. It is a peninsula surrounded by 
countries like Saudi Arabia and Bahrain
- currently, ruled by an absolute monarchy (the al-Thani family), it was formerly a British Protectorate
- People are very culture conscious in the region. The country is 
bound by the Islamic law and adheres to its Muslim traditions
- 900,000 people - but less than half are actual Qatar citizens.
- It has a large South and South East Asian population consisting of people from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Philippines.
- After hosting the Asian Games in 2006, the country has become cognizant of its global image.
- The country places high importance in education and is building an education city with premier universities like Carnegie Mellon, Georgetown and Texas A?M setting up a Qatari campus.
- Newfoundland opened a technical college in 2002
- University of Calgary opened a nursing school in Qatar in 2007
- The country has had great success hosting previous sporting events and has hosted many international sports stars such as Pete Sampras, Tim Henman, Boris Becker, Colin Montgomerie, and Steve Ballisteros.
- Doha, the capital of Qatar, is a city buzzing with activity. It is a cultural and commercial hub where one can witness old, traditional part of the country blending in with the advancing modernization.
- Petrol is very cheap in the country, Hence one can see the use of road transportation to the maximum.
- Qatar played a significant role in the Persian Gulf War (1991),
- Qatar allowed troops from Canada to use the country as an airbase to launch aircraft 
- Qatar does not have an Embassy in Canada, they communicate through their Embassy in Washington
- In Qatar, Canada is represented by the Embassy of Canada in Kuwait.
contributed by Neha R.
United Arab

pop. 4 million
Things in UAE (Arabic) culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to the region
United Arab Emirates 

is not a country, but a federation made out of 7 countries
  • ABU DHABI - pop 1.85 million
  • DUBAI - pop. 1.4 million
  • SHARJAH - pop.  750,000
  • AJMAN - pop. 275,000 
  • RAS AL-KHAIMA - pop. 230,000
  • FUJAIRAH - pop. 130,000
  • UMM AL-QAYWAN - pop. 75,000
- Common 2 languages spoken in UAE: Arabic and English.
- The most famous sport is football (soccer).
- All private schools teach in English.
- importance of Islamic religion and the role in government
• Everyone eats rice for lunch. That doesn’t mean only plain rice, but flavored rice too. A popular rice dish would be The Ouzi.
• Men usually don’t shake women’s hands.
• Arabic is spoken in different accents by different Arabic countries. UAE’s Arabic accent is called the “Khaleeji” accent. This means the gulf accent.
• Falconry or the upkeep of falcons is a traditional and highly valued custom in the UAE.
• Dubai is one of the seven emirates (cities) in UAE.
• Camel racing is a traditional sport.
- people drink tea a lot
- predominantly a Islamic society, with 79% Sunni Muslims and 16% Shi'i Muslims. 4% are Christians
- UAE is composed of 80% foreigners, 40% are arabs and 40% are non-arabs
"There are few intermarriages between the different groups, and immigrants do not enjoy all the same rights as the indigenous population, even if they stay here all their life" said
contributed by Amal, Sari

click on the small image to the left to see 
a larger image of the map

Things in Africa culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to African people
great diversity within Africa
- hard to be specific cause cultures so different
- a lot of countries in Africa speak French as a result of the French colonial activity in the 1700's and 1800's

often people use the "shape" of the continent to denote African things
eg. African food sold here
- or African art etc.

- in a UTM class in Jan 2007 a student suggested that Africa was "underepresented" but there haven't been many students "step up" to represent, so until we do, there is not much information for this region
- update, Jan 2008 - only one contribution - from Tanzania

contributed by these students

pop. 36 million
Things in Tanzanian culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Tanzanian people
Tanzania is made of the mainland (Tanganyika) and the Islands (Zanzibar ? Pemba)
- Languages mostly spoken in Tanzania: Swahili (referred to as Kiswahili) ? English
-  English (which has been the colonial language since the end of the First World War) is still the language of high schools and universities.
- Everybody knows everybody. This means Tanzanians like to socialize.
- Most popular meal is called “Mishkaki”. It consists of barbequed chicken and fries that is shopped from fresh potatoes. 
- Samosas are very popular in Africa and they pronounce it as “Sambosa”.
- Most women wear tailored dresses made out of special African materials called “Kitenge” and “Kanga”.
- They rarely use landlines because it is more expensive than cell phones.
- You can negotiate in almost every store you visit.
- Electricity is very expensive and bought in advance
- see also
contributed by Amal (Jan 2008)

pop. 95 million

Things in Egyptian culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Egyptian people
- the most populous country in the Arab world
- a very large number of young people, and unemployment is high
- diaspora - almost 3 million Egyptians live outside of Egypt
- 300,000 live in USA
- 110,000 live in Canada
- like many countries, Egypt has a minority population - 10% are Coptic
contributed by a Coptic student

click on the small image to the left to see 
a larger image of the map


pop. 5 million
Things in Scottish culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Scots
- Anything that shows Sean Connery in the commercial
- the Scottish lion
- the Rangers, and Celtics FCs
- tartan and kilts
- golf
- the thistle -  one of the few countries in the world that has a prickly weed for the national flower !!! - think about it
- bagpipes
"I cheer for two teams, Scotland, and anybody playing England" is a popular expression put on T-shirts - also a T-shirt owned by Prof. Richardson
contributed by these students
Sean, Kam

the Euro coin for Ireland showing a harp
Things in Irish culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Irish people
- shamrock
- Irish people call their country Eire, not Ireland - Ireland is an English name
- Guinness
- horse racing
- potcheen
- Celtic music
- the colour green - because of the green fields - called the "Emerald Isle"
- there is a movement in Ireland to have many official documents and street signs bilingual, in English and Gaelic
- many young people are learning Gaelic and old people who still speak Gaelic are highly respected
- the IRA Terrorist groups are not as active in Northern Ireland as they used to be in the 1990's and 1980's but it is still very unwise to discuss matters of religion with an Irish person unless they bring up the topic first and unless you are talking with everybody in the room who is of the same faith
contributed by these students

pop. 3 million

Things in Albanian culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Albanians
- albanians take pride in the way they look. businesspeople tend to dress well. any environment outside of the home is viewed as a formal situation. the only time you dress casual is when you are at home alone with your family. when guests come over, dressing up is a must
- when guests come over, you ALWAYS offer them something to drink and a small pastry. It is rude to decline it.
- at the end of a visit, it is polite to leave a small sum of money. Anywhere between 5-50 canadian equivalent dollars.
- in any setting, you always greet the men first. 
- men and women are not seen as equals. women are expected to serve their husbands and take care of the home and children. no man vacuums in albania
- the most important people are always greeted first, and if you are waiting to be seated in a restaurant, people take seats in order of importance. 
- titles are very important as they portray importance
- teachers are very well respected (and feared) in albania. 
- the way the classroom works is that students are assigned a classroom that they attend all year round and the teachers are the ones that alternate in the classrooms. whenever a teacher walks in the classroom, all the students get up. students have to sit up with arms crossed and make eye contact with whoever is talking in order to show respect.
- the most common pastime is hanging out in cafes and bars. there are hundreds of them that are busy at all hours of the day
- most meetings take place in cafes
- decisions are made from the top down and a group consensus doesn't usually play a role
contributed by Ida H. in MGTC44 in June 2011
click to view larger map of albania Albania is just north of Greece
- or, east across the Adriatic Sea from Italy

- the main meal is lunch (usually served at around 3-4) always accompanied by a salad
- cheese = feta cheese 
- common greeting is a kiss on each cheek (2 if you are close)
- shaking your head from side to side means "yes" and up and down means "no"
- english is the preferred language, although italian is extremely common because most television programs are italian
- universities are filled with bribes and many pay to get their diplomas


pop. 59 million

Things in Italian culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Irish people
- soccer is not a religion.... it's more important than that !!! (anonymous)
- emotions tend to flow easily in this culture with large hand
gestures and close personal contact. So don't be alarmed if you get hit by an out of control hand gesture. 
“Bella Figura” is a phrase that represents a good image; the need to always be reserved and have a presentable appearance, especially when doing business with others a PPT converted to a Video on YouTube w commentary about some misconceptions about Italy by students in MRK200 in Sept 2010

contributed by Frank F., Eric C., and Ryan DeF.

Trust and being punctual  are considered  major factors when building a relationship with business partners
A high respect for those in authority or for those who are older exists
First impressions are very significant under any circumstance, people should expect to be judged by what their wearing and how they carry themselves (confidence etc.)
Many businesses in Italy are a family collaboration or passed on from generations
- Don't dress like a bum, Italians pride themselves on being the fashion centre of Europe
- When someone offers you food, take it! In my experience, if I reject my grandmothers food she tends to be mad the rest of the day. She tends to come to the conclusion that I may have an eating disorder. 
? DO maintain eye contact while talking. This is a sign to your Italian business colleagues that you are sincere and honest.
?  DO shake hands with everyone when being introduced during a business or social meeting. Men should wait for women to extend their hand first.
? DO ensure that you knock before entering an office in Italy and always close the door behind you.
? DON'T appear impatient or rush your Italian colleagues in their business negotiations. Italians may see this as a sign of weakness.
?  DON'T give a business gift until you receive one first. In addition, gifts showcasing your company's logo should be avoided.
? DON'T be surprised if during business meetings your Italian colleagues speak simultaneously or interrupt one another. It is a common trait of the Italian communication style. 
some from
Something Canadians will probably never have .....the World Cup of Soccer

Italy 2006

contributed by these students
Lenny C., Christina D

pop. 82 million

Things in German culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Irish people
- first, Germans don't call Germany "Germany", they call it Deutschland
- they don't say they speak German, they say they speak Deutsch
- sports are of high importance in German culture, over 27 million Germans are members of sports clubs
- most famous sport: football (soccer), over 6 million Germans play in 170.000 teams
- Christmas is celebrated on December 24
- tax is already included in assigned prices (19% since 2007)
- students learn English as 2nd language and often French as 3rd language, in some high schools they also teach Spanish or Italian
- Germans are very punctual, especially in business meetings, so they also expect punctuality from their visitors
- The Beer Nation: Germans drink a lot of beer but never during work time, so if you go to a lunch as a business meeting don’t order any alcoholic drink unless everyone else does, then you can, but you must not
- If you go out with your business partners for a drink after work be prepared that everyone will drink a lot and they will order the same amount for you. So be sure you eat before you go out with them. Germans are used to drink more so they don’t get drunk that fast, in most cases people from other countries are not used to this…
- The German highway is called “Autobahn”, on sections of it there is no speed limit given, but you have to follow the rule that slow cars drive on the right lane while faster cars can ONLY pass slower cars on the left lane, so after passing another car you have to move back to the right lane again (as there can be a faster car behind you) and only move left again when you want to pass the next slower car in front of you
contributed by these students
Sofia E. (UTSC exchange student)

pop. 10 million
Things in Greek culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Greek people
video contributed by John  B, and Daniela R. 

pop. 38 million



Things in Polish culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Polish people
-  About 80% of Polish people are Roman Catholic
- the Polish eagle is a very nationalistic symbol
- English, German and Russian are among the better known foreign languages spoken in Poland, especially in the larger urban centers and hotels. English (and also German) is particularly popular among the younger generation (older people prefer German). 
- Close social atmospheres are preferred. (Hugging/kissing on the cheeks is common even when meeting for the first time).
- Vodka
- Famous Polish beers: Zywiec, Okoczim, EB, Warka
- There are three main meals in Poland: the morning sniadanie (breakfast), the afternoon obiad (dinner), and the evening kolacja (supper). In between they may be supplemented with a lighter drugie sniadanie (second breakfast) and a podwieczorek (tea). 
- Traditional foods include LOTS of carb’s, like perogies, potato pancakes, 
- because of their location, Poland receives a lot of snow and winter sports are very popular
contributed by these students
M. Czechowicz

pop. 4.3 million


Things in Moldovian culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to people from Moldova
-  The country is divided between Russians and Romanians.
-  Romanian and Russian are the two most important languages to know
-  If you plan to conduct business in large urban areas, it is important to know the Russian language because almost everybody in the big cities knows it. Only a small percentage of Russians in the big cities know the Romanian language. As a result, it is better to have advertising in Russian. 
- In large urban areas you have to dress to impress. People dress in nice clothes even when going to the grocery store that is a few meters away from their houses.
-  You have to shake hands when you meet someone, otherwise it is considered disrespectful.
- Maintain eye contact with the person when talking as it is a sign that you are listening to them and that you are being honest when saying something. 
- English is the most popular foreign language but it is mostly known by the younger generation. The older generation was not taught English in schools, so they prefer Russian.
- Soccer is very popular in Moldova, so TV companies use this when advertising sports packs. Also, never say ‘soccer’ in Moldova; the proper word for the sport is ‘football’. Moldovans hate it when their favorite sport is called ‘soccer’ instead of ‘football’.
- The wine and cognac is very important to Moldova as we also export these worldwide. Moldovans are very proud of their wine and cognac. As a result, unlike many other European nations, Moldovans prefer wine and cognac as opposed to beer.
- Religion is mostly Orthodox so Christmas falls on January 7th of every year. Do not try to do business in the period between New Year and Christmas as this time is characterized by very limited business activity. Moreover, in the summer, some companies and government agencies operate with reduced hours and staff.
- In malls when buying clothes, you should always try to bargain for a better price. Some merchants inflate prices to account for negotiations while others may offer you discounts even if the price is fair. The point is: you should always try to negotiate.
-  Many babyboomers work abroad (i.e. Italy, Romania, Germany) and send their children money for living and other expenses. As a result, the younger generation became the target market to a lot of companies. So, if you want to have a successful business, you should have a product or a service that appeals to young people. 
contributed by Vitalie S. of MGTC44 in April 2010

pop. 7 million
click to view map


Things in Bulgarian culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Bulgarian people
- proper name of the country is "Republic of Bulgaria"
- Bulgarians say "Republika Balgariya"
- joined the European Union in 2007
- the telephone system left over from the Soviet era was very poor 
- when Bulgaria "went digital", cell phone use exploded and the number of cell phone subscriptions in Bulgaria is actually greater than the population
- Bulgarian is a very proud nation.  Our flag and national anthem should not be used in any type of marketing.
- We are extremely proud of our nature; we have excellent sea resorts, ski resorts, lakes, rivers, and many historical sites.
- Things Bulgarians like to be reminded of, therefore might be used for marketing:
  • John Atanasoff, an American physicist of Bulgarian heritage, invented the first electronic digital computer, which became known as the Atanasoff–Berry Computer.
  • Bulgaria was once known as the Silicon Valley of the Eastern Bloc.  Way back, we used to be one of the two countries, other than Japan, manufacturing hardware.
We are recognized around the world with our folklore.  The song “Izlel e Delyu Haydutin” is part of the few on the Voyager spacecraft launched in 1977.   (
- Bulgaria is home of the oldest golden treasure ever found.
- The Bulgarian soccer team was 4th in the World Cup in 1994.
- Bulgarians are very proud of our athletes in the following sports: rhythmic gymnastics, artistic gymnastics, weightlifting, wrestling, high jumping, sprinting, recently figure skating.

To develop good business relationships:

  • It is accepted in Bulgaria to give small gifts to people important for your business.
  • After every signed deal you have to celebrate the Bulgarian style, with “Shopska” Salad and “Rakia” (our version of brandy/whiskey).
  • We celebrate various name days; do not expect high productivity in the office if an employee has a name day
contributed by Venelina G.

11 million

Things in Greek culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Greeks
Greek Marketing shares many concepts with what we see in Canada and the US when it comes to promotion of products. Due to the fact that Greece as a whole has become a very westernized country, there are many parallels in marketing between the United States and Greece. Similarly Greek marketing also shares characteristics with Italian marketing campaigns, and other characteristics from its Mediterranean neighbours. Also, there are some characteristics that seem reminiscent of Japanese style advertising. Video, uploaded to YouTube, made by MRK200 students John B. and Daniela R. in Sept 2010

4 Min 15 Sec

Characteristics of Greek Marketing

• Features soccer, and occasionally basketball
• Like most European marketing, takes advantage of the sexual image, sex sells.
• Features many Mediterranean images and symbols
• Family is featured a lot in Greek marketing campaigns
• Borrows current concepts seen in North American Advertising
• Generally the marketing is all Greek but occasionally will have some English characters.
• Will feature media from both the United States and Greece
• Borrows concepts from Japan as well, Majority of Electronics are imported from Japan.
• Caters to both Tourists and Natives of the country as well as residents of American Military bases that are also within Greek borders.
• Colour imagery tends to be lighter hues, reflecting that of the pristine sea that surrounds the country
• Lots of marketing based on Tourism
• Greeks tend to stand much closer to each other and have far stronger eye contact than many other cultures.
• In social situations, you may be asked quite personal questions regarding your family life or finances
• Several people may speak at the same time during meetings - which is viewed as lively debate rather than lack of discipline.
- do not like being confused with Macedonians
- "Taste of the Danforth"

contributed by Lefteris K.,Chris

65 million

Things in French culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to French people
Long lunches
contributed by 

44 million
Things in Ukrainian culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Ukrainian people
Canada has the world's third-largest Ukrainian population behind Ukraine !!!
contributed by 
WTGR 2023 April
2016 Canadian Census  1,300,000 people had Ukrainian ancestry - including some of my family members.
“Slava Ukraini”

143 million
Things in Russian culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Russian people
Russia also officially known as the Russian Federation is the country in northern Eurasia.
2016 Canadian Census, 620,000 Canadians claimed full or partial Russian ancestry

70% of population in Russia - orthodox christians.
Ethnic Russians comprise 80% of the country population.
Food - pelmeni(perogies), blini(pancakes), borsch(red soup), okroshka(soup).

1. Don't come to visit someone empty handed - always bring something like bottle of wine, chocolate, flowers.
2. Don't leave your shoes on in someone's home - russians take off their street shoes when they enter private places.
3. If you invited a lady out - don't expect her to pay for herself at the restaurant or anywhere else.
4. Offer the eldery person and pregnant women a seat on the bus.
5. Don't burp on public.
6. Always have some cash to pay if you stopped by police( bribery in Russia is a significant problem).

contributed by 
Yulia Jan 2013

Maltese flag

420,000 people

Maltese Cross

Things in Maltese culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Maltese people
Located in the Mediterranean half way between southern Italy and Tunisia in north Africa 
- people speak English and Maltese
- Maltese is a Semitic language of the Afro-Asiatic language family - most closely related to, Arabic.
- people from Malta have spread overseas to live in Canada, USA and Australia
- because of their geography, people from Malta usually speak several languages and have travel experience in several countries
-they love soccer (or "football", as they call it)
-they are predominantly Catholic and very family-oriented
-only country in the EU where divorce is not permitted
-they are very involved in the local politics - long-term grudges regularly arise over political disagreements 
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United States

311 million

Things in American culture you should know about to be able to successfully market to Americans people
pop. 330 million

Americans know very little about Canada, compared to how much Canadians know about the USA
- even university educated Americans know little about Canada 
(check YouTube - Rick Mercer, Talking To Americans)
- A much larger % of Americans go to church on a regular basis, compared to Canada
- Football = hockey
- almost every American knows someone, or has a relative who served in the war in Iraq, or the Gulf War 1 (1991) or the Vietnam war
- a proportionately smaller number of Canadians (especially in Toronto) know anybody who is in the Canadian army
- people of European background "whites" are 80 percent of the U.S. population, whereas in Canada that number is considerably smaller due to the growing number of immigrants

• More than 200 different ethnic origins were reported in the 2006 Canadian Census.
An estimated 5 million individuals were members of the visible minority population in Canada. They represented 16.2% of the total population in 2006, up from 13.4% in 2001.
contributed by 
Tanya, Rae
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Prof. W. Tim G. Richardson ©