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Jeff McFarland

Director of Strategy Landor Associates, 

Greater China 


As the Chinese middle class continues to grow, we are seeing a fundamental shift in consumers’ “quality consciousness.” This is occurring first at the high end, where Chinese luxury buyers are now looking beyond the label and scrutinizing craftsmanship, material quality and attention to detail.

But the same phenomenon is very much present at the mass level where issues like food and product safety, and by extension quality, are at the forefront of consumers’ minds. As a group, Chinese consumers are increasingly attentive to the promises brands make and increasingly savvy about finding out whether there is substance behind a brand’s surface.

While many international brands are experienced at delivering quality to discerning consumers, Chinese brands have not had to concern themselves with the issue until recently, and many foreign brands have felt that it was not a vital issue in China.

Those days are over. And just as in earlier decades in Japan and Korea, brand owners who understand this shift in quality will secure their futures in this essential market. Others will miss the boat. Now is the time for perceptive brand leaders to address this change.