- Don-Alvin Adegeest |
In an era where brand perception is everything, protecting the image of national brands would appear to be a top priority for President Trump, who campaigned heavily for 'America first.'
Yet 41.2 percent of Chinese consumers have a more negative view of the US following Trump's first month as President. 50.7 percent of consumers held a neutral position and 8.1 percent viewed the US more positively according to a joint study by China Skinny and Findout which surveyed 2,000 consumers across China in late February 2017.
Buying American property and stocks, traveling to the US, and studying in the US are the three categories most negatively impacted with a net 17.7 percent, 13.9 percent and 10 percent of consumers respectively seeing it more negatively.
China is America's largest export market
America's soft power has historically provided a distinct advantage for many of its products and services in China, driving preference for travel and study packages, where Nike shoes and iPhones are product draws. China is America's largest export market after Canada and Mexico, and the fastest growing of its major trading partners.
Even without the threatened tariffs for China, Trump's actions are likely to affect trade. Chinese consumers can be sensitive to negative media about a country as Japanese brands learned during a territorial dispute in September 2012 when Japan's major fashion brands were struggling in China. According to Forbes, China is rapidly becoming one of the most attractive consumer markets on the planet for foreign brands, with the country’s middle class expected to grow four-fold by 2025, according to Oxford Economics.
A major downward shift in sentiment towards the U.S. is going to have a dire impact on the position of American brands in the world's largest market. While it may sound contradictory, Chinese consumers should be a core ingredient in the pursuit of "making American great again."
China Skinny is a Shanghai-based marketing strategy consultancy and a recognized leader in identifying and capitalizing on trends in China's consumer market.
President Donald Trump, source: creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0, via Wikimedia Commons