Americans wary of China’s growth

Americans think that China’s growth and trade practices will hurt the US economy. That attitude could seriously backfire on the US economy, contend experts at The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

A new survey by the firm has found that nearly half – 46 per cent – of Americans believe China’s growth will have a negative impact on the US economy. Only 20 per cent of Americans said they disagreed with this sentiment, and more than a third said they didn’t have an opinion.

“Americans have been sold a bill of goods by their media and politicians, who have led them to believe China’s growth is America’s loss,” said Michael Silverstein, a BCG senior partner. “That’s not the case. It’s not a zero-sum game.”

Silverstein contends that many Americans and American companies fail to appreciate that China represents the largest consumer-market growth opportunity in history.

“Imagine 1.3 billion people with annual incomes rising from $4000 to $12,000 over the next decade. They want brands, and they want our brands. The overwhelming China-bashing that Americans hear in the media needs to change if we are to realise this opportunity,” he said.

The results of BCG’s survey, which included 4000 consumers in China, the US and the UK and was fielded in August 2012, underscore the opportunity. Forty per cent of Chinese consumers said they are planning to spend more money in the next 12 months than they did in the past 12, ensuring they will continue to be an engine of consumer expenditure for the global economy.

This level is up from 36 per cent in 2011 and 23 per cent in 2010 – despite the temporary slowdown in the Chinese economy. By contrast, only nine per cent of the US and the UK consumers in the 2012 survey said they are planning to spend more in the next year.

Notably, 80 per cent of Chinese think their children will have a better life than they did, compared with just 24 per cent in both the US and the UK.

Thirty percent of the UK consumers said they believed China’s growth will be bad for their economy, and 44 per cent did not agree or disagree with that sentiment.



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