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Asymmetric effects of brand origin confusion: Evidence from the emerging market of China

Guijun Zhuang (School of Management, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, China)
Xuehua Wang (Faculty of Management and Administration, Macau University of Science and Technology, Macau, China)
Lianxi Zhou (Department of Marketing and International Business, Lingnan University, Hong Kong)
Nan Zhou (Department of Marketing, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong and Department of Marketing, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China)

International Marketing Review

ISSN: 0265-1335

Article publication date: 18 July 2008

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this study investigates the asymmetric effects of brand origin confusion (BOC) on consumer preference and the purchase of local versus foreign brands in China. Drawing on the general country‐of‐origin (COO) literature and recent developments in brand‐origin studies and the emerging market phenomenon globally, it proposes and test a model of the asymmetric effects of BOC on consumer preference and the purchase of local versus foreign brands in China. This study intends to help to explain from a new angle the decreasing competitiveness of foreign brands in emerging markets, such as China.

Design/methodology/approach

The study pretest on nationally distributed brands across seven product categories resulted in a final set of 67 brands: 35 foreign and 32 local. Four hundred respondents evaluated measures related to brand origin, brand awareness, brand value, brand preference, and brand purchases in the previous six months. Hierarchical regression analysis was used in data analysis.

Findings

The hypotheses on the asymmetric effects of BOC between local and foreign brands in China were mostly supported. Specifically, the results showed that local brands are likely to be in an advantageous position when there is a high level of BOC. However, as the brand knowledge of consumers increases, the effects of BOC decrease.

Originality/value

This study provides evidence of the asymmetric effects of BOC between local and foreign brands and the moderating role of brand knowledge for local brands in China. It fills a gap in the international branding and marketing communication literature, and offers meaningful managerial insights for both local and international companies to formulate effective branding and marketing communication strategies in China and possibly in other emerging markets.

Keywords

Citation

Zhuang, G., Wang, X., Zhou, L. and Zhou, N. (2008), "Asymmetric effects of brand origin confusion: Evidence from the emerging market of China", International Marketing Review, Vol. 25 No. 4, pp. 441-457. https://doi.org/10.1108/02651330810887486

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited