Corporate mistrust triggered by scandals in the United States is spreading to Asia, a regional survey has shown, with 72 per cent of consumers polled saying there is a crisis of trust in business. People in Asia were also more cautious about the trustworthiness of companies in the future, with 86 per cent saying they would be more careful about which companies they would trust, the survey found. Public relations firm Golin/Harris Asia's managing director Anne Forrest said the findings of their survey showed a declining level of trust in Asia, and the business community should stay alert. 'Trust is decreasing and people are worried about what they trust in the future. It's not a disaster but the business community needs to look at the problem,' Ms Forrest said yesterday. Golin/Harris and market-research company NFO WorldGroup interviewed 800 consumers in Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Taipei in late summer. They had also interviewed 775 US consumers in the spring. Asians and Americans had different views on various industries, according to the survey. The five most trusted industries in Asia were electric power, computers, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals and vehicles, the least trusted were construction, securities and investment, media, health and beauty, and property developers. In contrast, the health and beauty sector was found to be one of the most trusted industries in the US. Ms Forrest said the divergence in the findings could be attributed to the lack of regulation in the sector in Asia and the bad news on the industry. 'Trust is very local. It is affected by crisis and bad behaviour of the industry,' she said. In Hong Kong, the most trusted businesses were banks, electric power, accounting, fast food and supermarkets. The least trusted were securities, property developers, health and beauty, entertainment and media. The top three trust destroyers in Hong Kong were poor value for money, poorly managed businesses and those prone to scandal or governance investigation. Golin/Harris managing director in Hong Kong CT Hew said a scandal in one firm was likely to destroy the whole industry's trust. The piling scandals in the construction sector and news reports about problematic beauty products and failing securities companies weakened the trust in the industries as a whole, he said. 'It's easy to have one bad apple spoil the entire barrel,' Mr Hew said. Businesses that were most trusted tended to be sectors critical to the national economy and social well-being, in many cases the trusted foundations of Asian industrial and commercial infrastructure, the survey found.