Consumer Products

Foreign or Local Brands in China? Rationalism Trumps Nationalism

Matt Anestis Hubert Hsu Vivian Hui Carol Liao

Although Chinese consumers often claim to prefer local brands—and patriotism is undoubtedly a factor—nationalism plays a relatively small role in their actual purchases, according to a new BCG study. What might appear to be a patriotic bias toward local brands is actually a preference for reasonably priced products with reliable quality. That's a wake-up call for marketers to stick with the basics.

The authors of this report report on a number of strategies by which smart global companies fulfill Chinese consumers' desire for affordable prices, cultural familiarity, and reliability so well that their brands are often thought to be local. This study can help companies understand how their brands are likely to be viewed by Chinese consumers—and what they can do to override consumers' initial biases.

Consumer Products Industry