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Life in Universe

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Few studies have investigated country-of-origin (COO) effects on Mainland Chinese consumer perceptions of foreign products (Ahmed & d’Astous, 1999; Wang, Siu, & Hui, 2004; Zhang, 1996). ‘‘In the early years after the inception of the open-door policy, most PRC consumers generally associated foreign products with such concepts as sophistication, modernity, novelty, and faddishness’’ (Zhou & Hui, 2003, p. 37). Furthermore, there has been a perception that foreign products have been of higher quality. ‘‘When imports work better, Chinese tend to accept the fact and show a favourable attitude. This is also a reflection of Chinese ‘sense of righteousness’. Tired of the low quality of domestic goods for decades, Chinese consumers regard imported products as more prestigious and higher class than domestic products’’ (Gong, 2003, p. 376). Other recent work indicates that Chinese consumers now express generally favourable attitudes
Corresponding author.
E-mail addresses: (J. Knight), (H. Gao), (T. Garrett), (K. Deans).
0195-6663/$ - see front matter r 2007 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2007.06.010 towards Chinese-owned grocery brands (Kwok, Uncles, & Huang, 2005), and growing evidence indicates that, with improved quality of locally produced products, consumer preference for foreign goods has diminished; this ‘‘reflects the increasing sophistication of some Chinese consumers’’ (Cui & Liu, 2001, p. 97). According to Schlevot (2000, p. 54) ‘‘Gallup polls indicate that Chinese consumers previously favoured Japanese and US brands but now prefer Chinese brands. Eighty per cent of consumers favour local brand names, and 79 per cent prefer products labelled ‘‘Made in China’’ over goods produced abroad.’’ How- ever, care needs to be taken in...

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