Local firms head CSR charts in China

17 October 2011

BEIJING: Consumers in China believe domestic brand owners like China Mobile, Lenovo and Haier have the strongest corporate social responsibility credentials, a study has found.

R3, the consultancy, polled 1,557 adults in ten cities to gauge popular awareness of CSR campaigns, and the opinions of participants about which organisations were performing well in various areas.

China Mobile, the wireless network, led the charts with a recall rate of 14.6%. Alongside boosting coverage in small towns and villages, and running a staff volunteering drive, the firm has given financial support to numerous goods causes.

More specifically, China Mobile had the best rating, 5.9%, in terms of "caring for Chinese consumers". The amount of contributors remembering mass media articles detailing its CSR efforts similarly hit a 6% peak, the research stated.

Lenovo was second in the rankings on 13%. The IT giant's CSR output includes an entrepreneur scheme for young people and helping residents of small fifth and sixth tier markets get online.

The company also launched a competition run on Sina's Weibo microblog rewarding users for acts of charity. Lenovo now has a brand preference score of 26.7% in the PC sector, R3 found, making it the leading player in the category.

Haier, the appliances group, logged a total of 11.8% and took second position when it came to being "caring", with 5.5%, bettering Lenovo's 4.9%. Haier also headed the eco-friendly products contest on 5.5%, again beating Lenovo, on 4.8%.

Wanglaoji, the soft drinks expert, claimed fourth in all on 11.6%, and Mengniu, the diary specialist, was fifth on 9.6%, meaning all the premier operators identified by R3's poll were indigenous companies.

Coca-Cola, the drinks multinational, was the pre-eminent overseas corporation and occupied sixth place but was some way back on 5.5%, exactly the same figure as Li-Ning, the sportswear brand.

Completing the top ten were Yili, another dairy firm, on 4.6%, Nongfu Spring, a bottled water provider, on 3.1% and Master Kong, active in various parts of the FMCG segment, on 3%.

Among the factors shaping shopper perceptions of CSR programmes were companies' disaster relief efforts on 18.6%, mass media news on 16.5% and manufacturing "responsible and green products" on 16.1%.

Having a positioning that displayed concern for consumers posted 16%, being involved with charity advertising yielded 14.4%%, holding charity events recorded 9.9%, and a CEO's image registered 8.4%.

Data sourced from R3; additional content by Warc staff