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Engage your Chinese Consumers Better

315 Consumer China TV Show

Shoppers enjoying the sun shopping at Solana Beijing

We are going to take a punt here and suggest that most of you understand what we mean by “Consumer Association.” Very likely there is one in your country. Not to be confused with the Consumer Brands Association. But just in case here is a definition from the Cambridge Dictionary:

an organisation that examines and compares products in order to advise people on them as well as giving support to people who have problems with things they buy or businesses they use – Dictionary

Its main objectives are: spreading consumer awareness; empowering consumers and teaching them their responsibilities and rights as consumers. Not to be confused with the above mentioned Consumer Brands, a US group that champions growth and innovation for that industry.

The Consumer Association uses a mix of models to educate and promote itself and its surveys. Some countries have a weekly or monthly TV segment dedicated to highlighting dodgy products or traders. Others produce a monthly magazine with updated consumer protection news, scams and cheats awareness and regular results of product testing.

Some of you may be wondering if China has something similar

Well, actually, yes she does.
Sort of.
It is called the 315 show – 315 meaning 15th of the 3rd month {they do it backwards here~] as that is the date for this annual production timed to coincide with World Consumer Rights Day .

Co-produced by CCTV, China Consumer’s Association and more than a dozen government agencies, including the Supreme People’s Court, Ministry of Public Security and Ministry of Commerce since 1991, the 315 Gala aims to raise awareness of consumer rights and communicate the government’s determination to regulate the market. Investigative footage captured by hidden cameras and teary testimonies from consumer victims are some of the ratings-grabbing highlights of the gala. [courtesy of China Daily: 2017}

Past perpetrators of poor products have ranged from local to imports, Chinese or foreign companies, from food, cosmetics, finance and automobiles.
Selling expired bread, false advertising of traditional Chinese medicine, cheap fire extinguishers and dodgy automobiles have made it to the show. Automobiles seem to be a regular guest! Foreign brands to grace the shows “Walk of Shame” include Nikon, Apple, Carrefour, Jaguar and Volkswagen

Entrants are drawn from China’s very active and sometimes volatile social media. However, in a country the size of China, it must be extremely challenging to narrow down the contenders to as many as will fit into an annual, 60 minute TV special.
Maybe they should look at extending it – at least 6 monthly?

So, who are the baddies this year?
Well, just to whet your appetite; a US kitchen and bathroom fittings company accused of installing face recognition cams in their showrooms and a Japanese lux car maker, cited for failing to action consumer complaints.
Want more juicy details?
Check them out with a Caixin Premium Subscription.

The bottom line is China may not be the lawless wild west you might think – don’t believe everything from mainstream US media. Sure, sometimes there is a lack of will to pursue some cases, and, as mentioned, China’s huge size mean many get away.
If you do end up on the 315 Show, it is going to make your life very difficult and you will need an extremely good PR team.
But, at the end of the day, China’s social media is the 315 show on speed.
Screening every few minutes with a potential audience of millions.
You don’t want to end up there.
You might escape 315, but you will be hard pressed to survive if you fall foul of WeChat etal.

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Introducing Everlyne YU


In 2003 Everlyne Yu co-founded WPBeijing Marketing Studio with Englishman Peter Bic, now known as Bic Brands.

She began Uengager, as a SaaS MarTech company focused on customer engagement in 2017.

Hello, Nihao, I’m Everlyne

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Everlyne is also a key note speaker, lecturer and KOL on MarTech in China. She is CEO of Uengager, business development officer for Bicyu.

Everlyne hs been privileged to work with a variety of international organisations, from VW, Cushman Wakefield, Sodexo, Bristol Myers Squibb to local Chinese firms such as Midea, and OK Order.

If you’re looking for guidance, tips, advice on any aspect of starting or growing a business in China or training, coaching your existing China marketing team for excellence, be sure to check out Uengager. Home page and base for Everlyne Yu. Read her short bio – opposite left – or contact her direct – below – for a free, heart to heart chat.

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