Introduction

Since Schooler's (1965) pioneering study on the effect of country-of-origin (COO) stereotype, extensive research on this topic has been published (Bhuian, 1997; Chu, Chang, Chen, & Wang, 2010; Klein, 2002; Samiee, 2011; Saran & Gupta, 2012). The mam conclusion is that COO stereotypes can significantly affect consumers' product evaluations and their subsequent choices (Chen, Mathur, & Maheswaran, 2014; Darling, 1981; Kenan & Azamat, 2012; Samiee, 1994; Ting, 2012). Consumers usually have more favorable attitudes toward products from developed countries than those from developing countries (Cordell, 1993). Recently, however, some researchers have started to question the long-term validation of this conclusion. The argument is that as more products are increasingly hybrid-assembled in various parts of the world and are guided by the same or similar quality control standards, the function of COO as a "quality signal" is weakening. Many consumers pay no attention to where products are produced or manufactured (Pharr, 2005). On the contrary, consumers' ability to identify products or brands correctly according to their origin is limited (Balabanis & Diamantopoulos, 2008; Samiee, Shimp, & Sharma, 2005).