Targeting East Asian markets:

A comparative study on

national identity


Ian Phau

is a lecturer in marketing at the Curtin University of Technology, Australia. His key research interests include branding, country image and piracy issues.

Kor-Weai Chan

is a regional (Asia Pacific) sales manager for a multinational corporation specializing in process separation equipment.


With the increasing number of international marketers who are looking at Asia for its relatively untapped marketplace, a national identity study can provide the necessary insights to assist them in their marketing strategies and approach formulation. The national identity ‘NATID’ framework developed by Keillor and Hult is used in this study to measure the level of emphasis on four East Asian countries, namely: South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore.

The underlying dimensions include: national heritage, cultural homogeneity, belief system and consumer ethnocentrism. Thailand and Singapore are identified to be the countries with the strongest and weakest national identity respectively. The combined NATID rankings of six Asian countries (findings for Japan and Hong Kong adapted from Keillor and Hult  presented in this study provide an overall picture of the uneven state of the Asian market. This study strongly supports the validity of Keillor and Hult’s  national identity framework; which has been demonstrated to be a systematic and practical tool for international segmentation.