`Brand’ China: How Much Damage?

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Just how badly China’s `brand’ has been hurt this year by the slew of product and food safety scandals surrounding exports from this country has been a question policymakers and business people have been wrestling with for months. Now comes an interesting poll from the NY Times and CBS News which provides some insight. (The TIME’s story on the poll is here. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/22/business/22bizpoll.html?ref=asia)
I’m not sure I’d agree with an analysis of the poll that says the results are in anyway good news for China. In a political poll, when “only” 35 per cent of the respondents are against something, that’s just a solid minority. Whoever has 65 per cent wins. But we’re not talking politics here; this is strictly business. And according to the poll, 71 per cent of the respondents say they pay attention to a product’s country of origin (that’s a higher number than I would have expected) and of those, 40 per cent say they feel imports from China are “more dangerous’’ than those from other countries.
No one involved with the China trade, whether here or in the U.S., can plausibly be soothed by those numbers, can they?