Why are Chinese firms more trusted than Indian ones?

Compared to more developed markets in the west, trust in Asia is in fairly rude health, according to Edelman’s 2013 Trust Barometer.

Some data-points to bear this out:

  • 6 of the 10 most ‘trusting’ countries are Asian – topped by the Chinese, Singaporeans and Indians
  • Above average trust in business in many Asian markets, notably India, Indonesia, China, Singapore and Malaysia
  • Very high levels of trust in government in China and Singapore, with otherwise generally higher average levels of trust in most other Asian markets (with the exception of Japan and Korea)
  • Significant trust in CEOs in most Asian markets
  • The five countries in which the media is most trusted across the world are China, India, Indonesia, Singapore and Hong Kong
  • Other than in Mexico, NGOs are held in the highest regard globally in Asia.

The study also reminds us, should we need reminding, that trust in Asian companies in developed countries remains low – see the chart below.

Edelman2013_AsianCompanyTrust

While it is hardly surprising that Indian firms, many of which have been expanding internationally for some time, are held in higher esteem in developed markets than their Chinese counterparts, the reverse is the case in emerging markets.

My guess is that the principal reason for this is that Chinese firms have placed greater emphasis on expanding first in emerging Asian markets, whereas Indian firms have tended to leverage their Anglophile connections and shared English language to prioritise markets such as the UK and USA.

Equally, it could be argued that Chinese firms have a more substantive presence in the more widely known consumer electronics (Haier, Huawei, ZTE, Lenovo etc) and goods sectors, whereas Indians are better known abroad for B2B services (Infosys, Wipro, Tata Consulting etc) amongst business and technology professionals.

What do you think?

2 comments
  1. I would agree with your findings. In addition, China – more than India – focused on investments in African and Latin American countries which explains the higher trust from emerging countries.

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