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Are Urban Consumers in China Ready to Accept Biotech Foods?


  • Lin, William W.
  • Somwaru, Agapi
  • Tuan, Francis C.
  • Huang, Jikun
  • Bai, Junfei


Based on a large-scale survey conducted in 11 large and small eastern cities in 2002, this study employs ordered probit models to estimate the effects of demographic and socio-economic variables on the likelihood of biotech food acceptance in China. This study also employs a dichotomous choice model to estimate consumers' mean willingness to pay (WTP) for biotech foods, including soybean oil and insect-resistant biotech rice. This survey reaffirms that Chinese urban consumers had a low awareness of biotechnology. Despite the low level of awareness, a great majority of respondents had favorable or neutral attitudes toward biotech foods. Only 5-15 percent was strongly or relatively opposed to biotech foods. Results from the models suggest that mid- and small-city consumers were more supportive of the use of biotech foods than large-city consumers. In addition, consumers with poorer health were less willing to accept biotech foods. Those consumers who trusted the accuracy of media information were also more willing to accept biotech foods. A majority-60 percent or higher-of the respondents were willing to purchase biotech foods without any price discounts. However, about 20 percent would only accept non-biotech foods. Results of the WTP analysis suggest that the likely price premiums that respondents are willing to pay for non-biotech foods averaged around 23.4 percent in the case of soybean oil and 41.5 percent for rice. Mean WTPs estimated from this study are likely to be overstated due in part to the hypothetical nature of the survey data.

Suggested Citation

  • Lin, William W. & Somwaru, Agapi & Tuan, Francis C. & Huang, Jikun & Bai, Junfei, 2006. "Are Urban Consumers in China Ready to Accept Biotech Foods?," 2006 Annual Meeting, August 12-18, 2006, Queensland, Australia 25389, International Association of Agricultural Economists.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iaae06:25389
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.25389

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Grimsrud, Kristine M. & McCluskey, Jill J. & Loureiro, Maria L. & Wahl, Thomas I., 2002. "Consumer Attitudes Towards Genetically Modified Foods In Norway," 2002 Annual meeting, July 28-31, Long Beach, CA 19818, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
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