Don’t Quote Me (On Statistics). Again

Related entries: Business Issues, General, Research

I know it is not the first time statistics have appeared in the headlines here. And it will not be the last! This time round China Herald is to blame…with an article that points out the problems of comparing different (in all senses of the word) statistics in China.

The post notes that Jan van de Bergh looked at ad spending in 2006 , as defined by two research firms (Nielsen and CTR) whose figures just happened to be a few billion dollars apart, at US$49.5 billion and US$36.9 billion. (We had more of the same in retail sales recently).

In the words of Fons Tuinstra:

    “…figures in China are not facts, they are tools to make companies spend more money in China. They are not a reflection of the reality, or better, they are reflecting that we can have different conflicting realities next to each other at the same time…We are not looking for the truth anymore, just a reality that meets the demands of today.”

Conflicting realities? I know the feeling! As for the cure, I recommend a healthy dose of skepticism mixed with a variety of sources, and a sprinkling of research definitions.

Objective research, done well, and properly reported, can be a great tool for building a better business…and for getting rid of those pesky conflicting realities.

One Response to “Don’t Quote Me (On Statistics). Again”

  1. Archive » Restated Statistics: GDP| China Business Blog Says:

    […] minder of the games played with statistics, here are some past posts on the subject: • Don’t Quote Me (On Statistics). Again • Don’t Quote Me (On Statistics) • FDI is Fall […]

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