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Study: 63% of consumers in APAC trust businesses over the government

Study: 63% of consumers in APAC trust businesses over the government

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Consumers in the APAC region are most trusting of business (63%), as compared to other institutions such as NGOs (59%), government (51%) and the media (50%). 

This is according to the 2024 Edelman Trust Barometer report for APAC that found that consumers are most trusting of key institutions and technology as compared to the rest of the world.

In the APAC region, with the introduction of innovations into society, public trust levels in businesses were 65% and 62% for the government. These were higher than the global levels - 59% for business and 50% for government. 

Those surveyed also said that they are more likely to embrace emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence, added the report. 

Don't miss: 3 areas of trust marketers need pay attention to in 2024 

The trust in technology, coupled with greater faith in government to lead a partnership with science and business, added the report, could result in a regional technological advantage if innovation is well managed. Doing so, it added, entails convincing people that the process and pace of technological change is well thought out, inclusive and helpful in delivering better lives for most people.

These results are in contrast with global findings, where respondents felt that innovation is poorly managed, and as a result, feel that technology and society are leaving them behind. 

“Most Asian societies enjoy an innovation edge when it comes to tapping key new technologies because of the higher levels of trust in government and business among their people,” said Warren Fernandez, CEO of Edelman APAC.

“To harness this advantage, our leaders must ensure that the already advanced rollout of technologies, such as artificial intelligence and green energy, are seen to be inclusive and working in the interests of the broad sweep of society,” he said. 

While there is existing trust, to be effective, business must focus on explaining the impact of innovation and the net gains this might bring to society as a whole. 

In addition, business that work in partnership with governments as new technologies are invented and rolled out, will also inspire greater confidence among the public. 

Furthermore, business in the energy, technology, healthcare, and food and beverage sectors are all highly trusted. However, key innovations within those sectors such as gene-based medicine (56%) and GMO foods (42%) are not. The two exceptions in APAC are green energy (75%) and artificial intelligence (62%), which indicates greater regional optimism towards this technology’s practical potential than the rest of the world.

The report also added that nearly two thirds expect CEOs to manage changes occurring in society, not just those occurring in their business (62%). Additionally, around eight in 10 employees said that it is important for their CEO to speak publicly about job skills of the future (835), the ethical use of technology (82%) and automation’s impact on jobs (81%).

“Against a backdrop of the biggest global election year in history, many of which will take place in APAC and are susceptible to tech-enabled misinformation efforts, societies in APAC must strive to seize the opportunity to build trust so as to address major societal issues, from climate, to jobs, improved education and healthcare,” said Fernandez. “This window of opportunity could close if governments and business do not move to win over those in society who are sceptical about the pace of change and whether these technologies being rolled out are in their best interests.”

“Existing public concern over the impacts of innovation and those driving it could lead to greater suspicion of economic and political systems, reinforcing our urgent call to action that business and government must partner for inclusive change to maximise the APAC innovation advantage.”

These results are similar to last year's 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer report for APAC where business were then considered the most competent and ethical global institution, trumping governments all over the world.

According to the 2023 findings from Edelman’s Trust Barometer, business now hold a 54-point lead in competence, and 30-point lead in ethics over governments. Additionally, respondents were of the opinion that business and government working in tandem are four times more likely to achieve constructive action.

Not only that, business was also the only institution seen as competent and ethical. Likewise, CEOs are most expected to act on employees, climate, and discrimination.

Related articles: 
How much do consumers trust business? Very much, it seems 
Edelman names new APAC head of influencer marketing and promotes APAC EVP 
Edelman bolsters B2B offerings with new global unit launch 

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