by Xinhua writers Yao Yulin and Zhou Rui
SHANGHAI, April 23 (Xinhua) -- U.S. car manufacturer Tesla was thrust into the limelight this week when an incensed female customer protested against an alleged brake failure by climbing atop a car at an auto exhibition in Shanghai.
The incident reflects progress in the maturity of Chinese citizens' consumption concepts, but that is not all. It also offers some tough lessons to foreign-funded businesses in China: They must treat Chinese consumers with sincerity if they are to win their hearts, and the "super-national treatment" mentality must be dismissed.
On Thursday evening, Tesla China released data from an investigation into brake failures in its vehicles. The company vowed to unreservedly cooperate with regulatory authorities to carry out in-depth investigations, and to openly accept social supervision.
The about-turn in Telsa's attitudes from the initial "no compromise" to "openly accepting social supervision" has provided multinationals with an education on the Chinese market.
The world's largest consumer market has taught Tesla a stark lesson about the Chinese consumers' ever-growing awareness of their legal rights and China's improving legal environment, which enables more efficient rights protection.
Faced with consumption disputes, today's Chinese citizens have diversified the means of defending their consumer rights. They no longer accept compromises easily, but are more proactive in defending their legitimate rights to the end.
Chinese customers no longer fall for old-fashioned public-relations tricks like dodging questions and delaying replies.
Companies operating in the market can no longer push their luck with their Chinese clients. They must show sufficient sincerity and conduct face-to-face dialogue with consumers.
Needless to say, Tesla has learned a harsh lesson on what it takes to be successful in the Chinese market.
In the early days of China's reform and opening-up, foreign brands that entered China used to bask in the spotlight and were regarded as synonymous with high quality. Imported products were often sold at a higher price than local products of similar quality.
However, this era of perceived superiority has now passed. Domestic latecomers in car manufacturing have also notched up spiraling sales, even with similar car models at higher prices.
For players to thrive in the Chinese market, they must come up with products of excellent quality and high cost performance.
Admittedly, the raging protester's behavior in challenging Tesla crossed the line to some extent, but the person concerned has received a proportionate punishment according to law.
Such a jarring episode will not change China's determination to open up to the outside world with high quality, nor the trend of improving its business environment year by year.
When it comes to protecting their legal rights, consumers need more rational solutions, while foreign-funded enterprises should keep pace with the times and win the hearts of their Chinese clients through true respect. Enditem