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Third parties aid customers' needs

By Yu Ran in Shanghai  (China Daily)

10:51, June 24, 2013

But many Chinese still believe the most expensive goods are the best

With more Chinese people aware of a larger variety of products available to them, objective suggestions from third parties are starting to be appreciated.

In order to help them to make the right decision when they are confused by descriptions extolling the virtues of all items despite big differences in prices, certain third-party platforms have been launched to provide professional comparisons between products.

"MingJian is committed to helping customers to make better informed purchase decisions through independent, expert, impartial research and testing of products and services," said James Feldkamp, co-founder and chief executive officer of MingJian.

MingJian (pinyin for judging things objectively and fairly) is a third-party website that compares popular baby and children's products for Chinese families.

In developed countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom, such reports issued by third-party organizations are important reference points for shoppers.

Being the only member of International Consumer Research and Testing, MingJian is keen to introduce the daily pre-buying habits from overseas to the booming Chinese market.

A group of new mainstream customers, who have an annual income above 106,000 yuan ($17,193) with markedly different spending behavior than the broader mass shoppers, is emerging in China, rapidly advancing in size and purchasing power, according to the 2012 annual report on Chinese consumerism released by McKinsey & Co. The report also discovered the new mainstream customers are willing to trade up, rely more on the Internet to conduct research and take emotional considerations more into account. They also trust brands and prefer online shopping.

The online evaluation reports of MingJian are aimed particularly at meeting the demands of the growing new mainstream shoppers in China, who are willing to spend more money to buy reliable products.

"Before we test any product, we first conduct considerable research while market researchers in major cities across China ask people about the products they use," said Feldkamp.

The US citizen added that based on the research, they then select specific models to test, comprised of representative brands, price ranges and features.

Along with an evaluation form, a recommended option from MingJian is a shortcut for customers to see which product has the highest performance-to-price ratio with overall best ratings.

"Our rating data is presented in a table format that is direct and clear, providing a shortcut to find the product that meets your requirements," said Feldkamp.

MingJian evaluates and compares prices, functions, durable qualities and overall performance against global standards for all baby- and child-related products. A wider range of goods related to Chinese people's lives will be added gradually.

"We started with baby and child products because we noticed that more young Chinese parents who have been affected by Western culture are willing to buy expensive and high-quality goods for their children to catch up with the advanced Westerners," said Feldkamp.

After three-years of development, MingJian launched a brand new website in March to welcome membership applicants and tag the in-depth evaluation reports with respective prices.

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