China consumer day show skewers Nike shoes, Muji foods

By Jackie Cai and Adam Jourdan
SHANGHAI, March 15 (Reuters) – China’s annual consumer
rights day TV show turned its spotlight on U.S. sports brand
Nike Inc for false advertising and Japanese brand Muji
for selling food products allegedly sourced from part of Japan
affected by radiation.

The state-run China Central Television (CCTV) show – which
can have brands and their corporate PR teams scurrying to take
evasive action – said certain Nike shoes sold in China did not
have “Zoom Air” cushions despite advertising that suggested they
did.

Similar to CBS network’s “60 Minutes” in the United States,
the CCTV show – known as “315” in reference to global consumer
rights day on March 15 – has previously named and shamed firms
from Apple Inc to Volkswagen AG.

The two-hour show – a mix of undercover reports and
song-and-dance – also highlighted Japanese brands including
Muji, owned by Ryohin Keikaku Co, which it said sold
food products in China from an area of Tokyo where high levels
of radiation were detected in 2015.

Reuters could not immediately reach Nike or Muji for
comment.

The show also took aim at fake eye doctors for scamming
patients, animal breeders for over-using medicines to make
animals grow faster, and China’s Wikipedia-like Baike.com.

The 315 show can hit a firm’s reputation if singled out for
bad corporate behaviour. Apple was forced into a rare apology in
2013 after criticism on the show of its China after-sales
service.

“Pretty much all the big corporations have their PR machines
ready to jump into action because they’ve seen what happens when
companies are not prepared,” said James Feldkamp, Shanghai-based
CEO of independent China consumer watchdog Mingjian.

While the annual programme has lost some of its bite in
recent years, Wednesday’s version was harder hitting than last
year’s, which criticised local food delivery apps, fake online
sales and dodgy false teeth, but didn’t take aim at any major
international firms.

Ahead of the show, some Chinese shoppers told Reuters they
would probably not watch it, but would check the next day to see
who had been targeted.

“What I pay attention to is food safety. After all, what you
eat has a direct affect on your health,” said Maple Zhu, a
27-year-old media professional in Shanghai.

“The impact, though, on consumers is usually short-lived.
After a little while most people just forget.”

(Reporting by Adam Jourdan and Jackie Cai; Editing by Ian
Geoghegan)

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