Today China celebrates the World Consumer Day with the traditional naming and shaming of companies who have – according to the TV program – let down their consumers. But the effect of the show, once compulsory for fearful foreign executives, is slowly beginning to lose its luster, says retail expert Ben Cavender to Bloomberg.
Companies haven’t always rolled over when targeted by Chinese media. OSI said Feb. 1 that Dragon TV, operated by state-owned Shanghai Media Group, had run a “harmful smear campaign” and hurt its reputation. The Aurora, Illinois-based food supplier also said it would consider appealing a verdict by a Shanghai court that its China units broke food safety laws, more than a year after the station reported its workers were repackaging and selling expired chicken and beef. Dragon TV news editor-in-chief Liu Weihua declined to comment further “as the court has made its decision.”
The impact of name-and-shame TV programs may also be dimming amid the increasing importance of younger Chinese, who are more Internet-savvy than their parents, said Ben Cavender, a Shanghai-based analyst for China Market Research Group. Consumers have also become more aware of their rights, to the credit of the “315 Gala,” he said.
“It does still have an impact, but that impact has been tempered as consumers are now more sophisticated and assertive than before,” Cavender said. “In the past, when consumers were usually powerless and ignored, the program showed that someone was looking out for them.”
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