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Maintaining consumer trust is crucial in China...

After a report surfaced in the US that a few products from Johnson & Johnson contained carcinogens, 75% of consumers in China surveyed stopped buying products from the company. The Chinese government later cleared the company. Even after the report was disproved, Johnson & Johnson had to re-build its reputation and regain its Chinese customers' trust.

When China opened its markets 30 years ago, foreign products were unquestioningly considered better. But today, Chinese consumers are savvy, and demand high quality from both foreign and domestic companies. After the tainted baby milk scandal, manufacturers both nationally and internationally have become even more determined to win and keep consumer trust.

The president of Procter & Gamble China says, "We start from the consumer. The consumer is the boss. Each consumer has different aspirations and expectations for any products they use. . . Of all the advertising, packaging, products and promotions we do, everything is centered around the very specific positioning of different consumers." In fact, P&G redesigned its Pampers diapers when "it discovered Chinese babies had on average 1 cm wider thighs than western ones since they use their legs more in the early stages of life." Adapting products to Chinese consumers is a great way to win trust and loyalty.

And to keep it—don't mislead the Chinese consumer! Case in point: A Taiwanese bottled water manufacturer suffered when a report circulating on the Internet revealed that their bottles contained tap water, not spring water. Even though the company said the tap water was safer, its reputation suffered because it misled consumers.



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