Why do consumers have a low opinion of Chinese brands?

Our August trend report, “Remaking ‘Made in China’,” looks at whether Chinese brands seeking to expand onto the world stage can redefine what “Made in China” means to international consumers. One of the key hurdles for these brands is that Western consumers are carrying over their negative perceptions of Chinese-made onto Chinese-branded, although most have not had direct experience with Chinese brands. In a survey of 503 Americans and 503 Britons that used SONAR™, JWT’s proprietary online tool, half of respondents with poor perceptions of Chinese brands explained that they are not impressed with Chinese-made products and assume a similar experience with brands out of China.

In addition, when respondents were asked to choose which phrases they associate with Chinese brands, the top three responses were “mass-produced,” “cheap” and “poor safety standards”—echoing consumer sentiment around “Made in China.” Chinese brands clearly face an uphill battle, but not an insurmountable one. Our report outlines several strategies they can use to turn around current perceptions.