The percentage of people around the world who hold a favorable perception of China declined from 48 per cent in 2007 to 40 per cent in 2016.
The News Lens
By: Sacha Cody
Ten years ago, then-Chinese president Hu Jintao announced that China needed to develop its soft power. Progress is not good. The percentage of people around the world who hold a favorable perception of China declined from 48 per cent in 2007 when Hu made his announcement to 40 per cent in 2016.
Even in regions where China invests generously, things have not changed dramatically. Positive sentiment remains stable in most of Latin and Central America, and has dropped slightly across Africa. China fares much worse in Western nations. Over the same period, favorable perceptions dropped from 42 to 37 per cent in the United States and from 39 to 32 per cent in Western Europe. Only Australia has stable impressions of China: 52 per cent held a favorable view in both 2007 and 2016.
But a new ingredient has recently emerged in China’s quest for soft power — Chinese brands and their global influence. A recent study identified 30 Chinese brands that are ‘going global’ (meaning they derive a significant portion of their revenue and positive sentiment from overseas), including businesses in ‘traditional’ industries such as Lenovo and Huawei as well as newer internet and digital businesses like Alibaba and Elex.