Consumer Evaluation of Products Made in China: A Malaysian Perspective

Journal of International Business and Entrepreneurship Development. Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 13-19 (2004)

12 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2015

See all articles by M. Sadiq Sohail

M. Sadiq Sohail

King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM)

Date Written: 2004


This paper examines the country of origin effect of products made in China. The study focuses on the questions of the sources of information in evaluating products; the evaluation of specific product dimensions by Malaysian consumers; and consumers’ assessment of different product categories. It reports on the findings of a survey conducted in which 251 responses were obtained. The most common product information source was found to be through information contained in packaging. Products made in China had been rated highly for its competitive pricing. Foodstuffs were generally found to be the popular preference of product category by Malaysian consumers. The managerial implications of these are discussed, limitations of the study are highlighted, and further research is suggested.

Consumers in developing countries have a myriad of options while choosing products. The impact of country of origin (hereafter called as COO) on the consumers perception of products has been widely studied (Schooler, 1965; Samiee, 1994; Peterson and Jolibert, 1995; Ahmed et all, 2002, Ahmed et all, 2003, Ahmed et all, 2004). Consumer and marketing researchers have extended considerable effort to have a better understanding of such perceptual decisions are framed by consumers. It has been reported that COO may be used by consumers as an attribute to evaluate products (Johansson, Douglas and Nonaka, 1985; Hong and Wyer, 1989). Secondly, consumers’ attention and evaluation of other product dimensions may be influenced by COO, which may create a ‘halo effect’ (Erickson, Johansson and Chao, 1984; Han, 1989). Thirdly, COO may also act as a source of country stereotyping, directly affecting consumers’ attitudes towards the brand of a country instead of through attribute ratings (Wright, 1975).

A characteristic feature from COO literature is that most studies have examined consumers’ perception of products from a wide range of countries. While this may be helpful in undertaking a comparative analysis, it minimizes the details on a specific country. While a number of studies have been conducted of COO effect on consumers in a wider context, to our knowledge no comprehensive study has been conducted relating to Malaysian consumers’ preference and perception of goods “Made in China”. Given the increasing involvement of trade between Malaysia and China, an understanding of the perceptions consumers have on products is of paramount importance. Given the significant volume of Malaysia’s imports of consumer goods from China, the aim of this paper is to investigate into the effect of COO on Malaysian consumers’ perception. More specifically, this study focuses on the following research questions:

What are the sources of information used by Malaysian consumers in evaluating products originating from China, and how does this differ in accordance with consumer demographics?

How do consumers in Malaysia evaluate specific dimensions of products made in China and how do these factors vary in relation to consumer demographics?

What is the Malaysian consumer’s assessment of different product categories?

Suggested Citation

Sohail, M. Sadiq, Consumer Evaluation of Products Made in China: A Malaysian Perspective (2004). Journal of International Business and Entrepreneurship Development. Vol. 2, No. 1, pp. 13-19 (2004). Available at SSRN:

M. Sadiq Sohail (Contact Author)

King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals (KFUPM) ( email )

Dhahran, 31261
Saudi Arabia

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