The annual World Consumer Rights Day, March 15, has become a major television and social media event in China, with domestic and foreign brands selected for high-profile and sometimes malicious criticism. World Consumer Rights Day began in 1983, and China began observing it three years later, shortly after the establishment of the China Consumers Association.
WHAT HAPPENS TO CHINA CONSUMER RIGHTS DAY? In recent years, the run up to March 15 has been marked by various consumer education campaigns, with government-backed groups and brands dispensing information on consumer rights.
The highlight is a two-hour prime-time show broadcast by state-run China Central Television (CCTV). Known as the “315 Show,” the program names and shames brands for ranging issues from poor quality products, automated calls and illegal collection of personal information for aggressive sales of beauty salon subscriptions. Big brands, fearful of being present, are known to prepare answers in advance, just in case.
SINGLE FOREIGN NAMES Last year, in a delayed broadcast in July due to the COVID-19 pandemic, American fast food chain Burger King and a car made by a General Motors joint venture drew criticism.
In previous years, large foreign companies that have been criticized have included Starbucks, for charging higher prices in China than in the United States, while Apple has been subject to a one year service guarantee in China, shorter than in other markets. Others reprimanded in the past include Volkswagen, for engine defects on an SUV; Nike, for misleading advertising; and the Japanese Muji, who was targeted for the sale of allegedly sourced food products from part of Japan affected by radiation.
Most of the criticism has been directed at Chinese brands. In 2016, the program criticized what was said to be the widespread practice of sellers on Alibaba Group’s Taobao online marketplace of increasing sales figures to increase their credibility on the platform.
Food delivery company Ele.me, now owned by Alibaba, was once chosen to work with restaurants that operate without proper licensing or kitchens. WHAT IS THE IMPACT OF BEING APPOINTED?
The brand reputation of the companies mentioned and the price of their shares can be affected. Qutoutiao, an app that provides personalized article feeds and short videos to users based on algorithms, was criticized last year for its advertising practices. Shares of the New York-listed company, backed by Tencent, plunged 23% in the trading session following the show.
Nominated companies typically release timely responses, usually via their official accounts on the Weibo and WeChat social media platforms, expressing gratitude for the oversight and criticism and a willingness to correct their behavior.
(This story has not been edited by our team of editors and is generated from a feed.)
- In recent years, the run up to March 15 has been marked by various consumer education campaigns, with government-backed groups and brands dispensing information on consumer rights. The highlight is a two-hour prime-time show broadcast by state-run China Central Television (CCTV).
- EXPLICER-What is Chinese Consumer Rights Day?