Strong, stabilizing foreign policies such as the Belt and Road Initiative are helping to connect China to the wider world, especially through infrastructure investment, high speed trains and major construction projects around the world, a new survey said.
The survey, conducted by leading consultancy firm Edelman also revealed that Chinese firms have been making significant progress, when it comes to trust perception.
Though trust in brands made by companies headquartered in China has risen at home, it has remained flat globally in the past five years and companies must focus more on reputation building, said the 2018 Edelman Trust Barometer. The survey was jointly conducted by Edelman China and the National Image Research Center of Tsinghua University and released on Mar 22 in Beijing.
Public trust in Chinese companies among Chinese respondents rose to 90 points in 2018 from 74 points in 2014.
However, the number has remained unchanged at 34 points for the same period among respondents from outside China.
"There is a global trust deficit on China brands given the lack of objective facts," said Richard Edelman, president and CEO of Edelman.
A total of 53 percent of respondents from outside China said Chinese companies helped create new jobs. About 59 percent said Chinese companies do a good job in making advanced technology affordable for the average person.
Some 54 percent said Chinese companies are innovators of new products, services and ideas. Half of those surveyed said Chinese companies offer good value for money.
Building trust, especially in overseas markets, takes time and calls for specific actions from companies, according to the survey.
"The growing trust in China and its growing influence, continue to exceed global expectations. Chinese companies going global must show their commitment to long-term development and work on building credibility for long-term results for business and beyond," said Hong Fan, director of National Image Research Center, professor of the School of Journalism and Communication, Tsinghua University.
"Chinese companies going global should have sustainability reports, clear value statements, invest in philanthropy, and communicate with media and employees to ensure more transparency," Edelman suggested.
He emphasized the importance for businesses to address the changing market dynamics and communicating effectively. Building trust needs to be top priority for CEOs as 72 percent of respondents in China felt CEOs needed to take the lead on change. They should also act as the spokesperson for their company to bolster credibility.