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Guest View: In tech we trust

James Cook | May 30, 2013
Technology is the most trusted industry not only globally, but also in Asia Pacific, reveals a trust barometer.

"It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it."

Warren Buffet could not have said it better. But unlike "reputation", which is the sum of perceptions of past behaviours, "trust" is a leading indicator of how stakeholders believe a business and/or its leaders will behave in the future. It is the foundation of corporate and brand reputation. In business, very little can be achieved without trust and it could be argued that the more trust that exists in a market or society, the more efficient it becomes.

Over ten years ago, global public relations company Edelman commissioned the Edelman Trust Barometer, a global study that examines levels of trust across four institutions; government, industry, NGOs and media. Now in its 13th year, the Trust Barometer continues to provide valuable insights into key drivers of trust and how levels of trust across various industries changes over time.

Trust Tech to Do What's Right

The good news for technology companies is that the Edelman Trust Barometer this year revealed that Technology is the most trusted industry not only globally, but also in Asia Pacific, with 78 percent of respondents in the region saying they were "confident" or "somewhat confident" that the tech sector can provide long-term solutions to meet the world's toughest challenges. By comparison, the global average of trust in businesses is 50 percent.

A deep dive into the tech industry revealed interesting findings - one of which was that the clean/sustainable tech sector emerged as the most trusted sector in Asia Pacific. Japan was the only country in the region where trust in the clean/sustainable tech sector was below 50 percent. China and India were the most trusting of wireless service providers (83 percent and 81 percent, respectively). High levels of trust were shown by respondents from China (89 percent), South Korea (77 percent), Malaysia (76 percent) and India (75 percent) in the semiconductors sector, although regionally it was the least trusted sector in the industry.

So Why Tech?

Edelman has been studying Trust for nine years now in the Asia Pacific region, and results have consistently showed that trust in technology is growing deeper over time, despite a statistically insignificant year-on-year decline of two points. Since 1999, trust in tech has increased by more than 10 percent overall.

There are several theories why the technology sector consistently scores so high. One explanation is that the industry is perceived by consumers as future-focused, with competitively priced products that improve the quality of people's lives. Clean tech companies, for example, are finding ways to bring renewable energy to the masses, while major players like GE and Qualcomm are innovating ways to make our delivery infrastructure ("the grid") substantially more efficient. Meanwhile, cloud computing initiatives by VMware promise to help enterprise customers reduce energy consumption and save money.


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