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Shenzhen Eats Has Its Eye on Cantonese
Ausar Media Entertainment Group
December 11, 2011
Shenzhen - Shenzhen Eats is a company that wishes to completely understand the culture of eating in the Southern Chinese city of Shenzhen.

While Shenzhen is in the country of China, not everyone speaks Mandarin (the official language of China) as a first language. In fact, in the southern province of Guangdong, the first language for many Chinese Internet users is still Cantonese.

What does that mean to Shenzhen Eats' localization efforts?

"A whole lot," answered the project manager for Shenzhen Eats. "English is of course the main language for our site structure. However, the numbers of people who speak Cantonese within Shenzhen and on the other side of the city in Hong Kong are by far in the majority."

And so, Shenzhen Eats has made it a major goal to cater to the Cantonese-speaking community within the Guangdong province and in the bordering peninsula city of Hong Kong.

"You have to remember" added the project manager, "We are Shenzhen Eats, not China Eats. Therefore, it only makes sense to cater to people who live inside and around the area of concentration. If more than half of all people within this area of Southern China are speaking Cantonese, then we have to address this issue."

However, with Cantonese, it is not as simple as translating from English or Mandarin. Cantonese carries with it tons of oral terms that are not necessarily written down in everyday life.

This is proving to also be a challenge in catering to Cantonese-speaking Internet users.

"There is a larger city near Shenzhen called Guangzhou, which is known to be the birthplace of Cantonese in China. However, Guangzhou is in mainland China which means that although Cantonese is spoken, Mandarin and its use of simple written Chinese are used in business."

Shenzhen Eats however would be considered an entertainment website, due to its concentration on restaurants and clubs.

"In Hong Kong, much of the 'oral style' of Cantonese is published by entertainment and gossip magazines. We kind of have to follow this style for our site and are very happy to do it. As far as I know, we will be the only foreign commercial website catering to Chinese Internet users whose primary focus will be the oral Cantonese language."
- Ausar Media Press
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