Chinese consumers use social media to learn about CSR

In the past few years the internet has become a widely used tool for Chinese people to access information that would otherwise not be available, such as critical information about the government, but also for consumers to learn about the social and environmental responsibility of companies. In response to the banning of global social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube, Chinese internet users have instead developed their own widely used platforms for social networking and microblogging. China now boasts more than double the internet users of the USA, and more than 300 million Chinese consumers use social media according to a recent survey by McKinsey.
Chinese consumers use their newfound access to information to find information about the behaviour of companies; recent findings from GlobeScan’s 2012 Radar research programme shows that Chinese consumers are much more likely than consumers in other key markets to use social media to discover how responsibly companies are behaving on social, as well as environmental, issues. Compared to British or American consumers, the Chinese are twice as likely to claim they use social media to learn about CSR.
In 2011, several corporate scandals in China were uncovered and spread through social media, such as food safety problems of China’s largest meat processor Shuanghui, tainted Mengniu milk products, and a cover-up by authorities of the oil spill in the gulf of Bohai by the American company ConocoPhillips. As more scandals emerge, Chinese consumers are becoming more alert to corporate misbehaviour and increasingly eager to spread the word online.
Finding from the GlobeScan Radar, Wave 1, 2012
This post was written by former GlobeScan Research Director, Sam Mountford.