SARS laid siege to the Greater China region (mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan) from late March to June 2003. When the spread of the disease accelerated at the end of March, both the public and governments alike appeared panic-stricken. A major crisis seemed imminent, but within months, SARS was brought under control. Based on extensive research, TNS concluded in June 2003 that while SARS had obviously had an impact on consumers, it would not fundamentally change their behaviour, but merely reinforce existing trends. Soon after, SARS abated and economic confidence returned. TNS conducted further research in January 2004, at a time when incidental cases of SARS were being reported again and the re-emergence of another contagious disease, Bird Flu, affected the region. This paper is based on three telephone studies (Hong Kong in April 2003; mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan in June 2003; mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan in January 2004), qualitative research in June 2003 and data from the TNS Worldpanel in Greater China.
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