Under the sponsorship of the SME Development Fund, Hong Kong Brand Development Council (BDC) implemented “Wuhan Hong Kong Brand Week” Serial Activities. As a deliverable of the Project, the BDC, in collaboration with the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, conducted a research entitled “Questionnaire Survey on Central China Consumers’ Perception of Hong Kong Brands” in late April 2012, with an aim to gather the views of Central China consumers in regard to Hong Kong brands and products, and to help Hong Kong SMEs to better understand local consumption habits, behavior characteristics and market environment.
The Survey interviewed 831 citizens in Central China. 60% to 70% of the respondents have attained teritary education and are relatively in younger age brackets; and over 30% of them are earning more than RMB6,000 per month, indicating that consumers in Central China possess a certain level of purchasing power. To the extent that the mainstay of the respondents factually represent Mainland’s most important consumer groups in the coming decade, the survey results based on such sample structure could provide useful information with long-term reference values, which in particular would help Hong Kong companies to better understand the Chinese middle-class market and grasp the future consumption trends.
The survey findings support the “Country of Origin Theory” of brand management on several aspects. The theory states that enterprises can leverage on image attached to their domicile or country of orgin to promote brands more effectively in the non-domestic markets. The positive influences of “country of origin” is similar to a kind of “Location brand effect”, whereby consumers’ favourable knowledge of and impersion on a location might provide a pre-emptive reference point to help shorten the time of knowing and accepting brands associated with the place.
The main conclusions of the survey are as follows:
1. Consumers in Central China as represented by Wuhan and Hubei citizens are generally in favor of Hong Kong brands. On a seven-point rating scale, Hong Kong brand is rated 5.35 and 5.33 by respondents in terms of “Adorability” and “Trustworthiness” respectively. However, it garners a megre 3.34 for “Degree of Familiarity”, substaintially lower than the 5.8 earned by their Mainland counterparts.
2. On top of their mind, a considerable number of respondents believe that Hong Kong brands are high-quality, fashionable and have good value for money. On the other hand, when purchasing branded products, they tend to put more emphasis on functional benefits, including brand image, product quality, safety and reliability as well as pricing. These two propensities fit well with each other, conducive to bringing the “country of origin” clout of Hong Kong brands to full play.