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Why MNCs tend to treat Chinese consumers unfairly

(People's Daily Online)

15:10, October 31, 2012

Nike sells a model of its basketball shoes with two air cushions for 125 U.S. dollars, or 800 yuan, in the United States, but the supposedly same product is priced at 1,299 yuan in China with only one air cushion. After discovering the company's unfair treatment of Chinese consumers, the Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce imposed a heavy fine on Nike, which attracted extensive public attention.

Nike is not the only one. From Apple's overbearing repair policy and Toyota's "secret recall" of its Crown sedans to Hermes' refusal to provide goods inspection services in China, the frequent unfair practices of large multinational corporations have caused increasing discontent among Chinese consumers in recent years.

A recent survey of 3,332 people conducted by China Youth Daily found that nearly 89 percent of respondents have bought foreign brand-name products, and over 38 percent have encountered unfair practices of large multinational corporations.

What constitutes unfair treatment? Over 62 percent of respondents voted for "salespeople's arrogant attitudes," followed by "poor after-sales service" at nearly 49 percent, "great difficulties in enjoying repair service" at over 48 percent, "great difficulties in making complaints about quality issues" at over 35 percent, and "poor product quality" at nearly 29 percent.

What are the reasons for large multinational corporations' frequent unfair practices in China? Nearly 75 percent of respondents attributed it to "domestic consumers' worship of foreign brands," followed by "lack of effective government regulation" at nearly 74 percent, "low cost of breaking law in China" at over 67 percent, "limited detection means and lack of accurate assessment of product safety" at nearly 55 percent, "lack of an effective mechanism for protecting consumers' rights and interests" at nearly 48 percent, and "lack of awareness of consumer rights among Chinese buyers" at over 42 percent.

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