False Advertising Targeted in New Shenzhen Credit Scheme

By Jonathan Zhong, February 26, 2019

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On February 20, the Shenzhen Consumer Council held a mobilization meeting for the upcoming World Consumer Rights Day on March 15 (aka. 3.15 in China), in which it outlined a set of measures to be implemented this year to create a credit-based consumer market.

According to a WeChat press release by the council, the decision is linked to recurring problems, such as false advertising, counterfeit products, disclosure of private information and more, that sporadically violate consumers' rights.

In response to these problems, Feng Nianwen, secretary general of the council, announced during the meeting that the priorities for the council’s work this year are to carry out the plan proposed in 2015 to establish a credit rating system in the consumption field, upgrade their market-supervising volunteer team by adding an expert-supervisor division and set internationally accepted standards for products and services. So far, the standards for facial masks have been approved and efforts to set those for smart watches for children are underway. According to Shenzhen Special Zone Daily, these standards will guide companies to build up their reputation and help consumers select the best-quality products and services possible.

Feng added they will also double their efforts in solving consumer disputes via such means as investigation, summoning individuals involved for talks, public condemnation, litigation support and reporting bad credit, amongst others.

Among these goals, a heavy emphasis is placed on creating a credit-based consumer market, with the council aiming to push for a fairer market where ‘credit will be equal to profits.’ The council also announced that they will develop more innovative ways for credit reporting and to provide consumer rights organizations with easier access to government information on companies with bad credit. 

In doing so, the council vows to make sure companies that seriously violate market rules at one place will have their rights restricted in all places.

An imminent step towards that end is the Shenzhen 3.15 Credit Consumption Festival, which is set to be held on March 15. Themed ‘Credit Reassures Consumers,’ the event is aimed at encouraging product and service providers to abide by the law and be quality-oriented, while also boosting consumers’ confidence in ‘Chinese quality.’

Though the push for a credit system is only city-wide, it ties in with the increasing popularity of this concept in various aspects in China, such as the credit-rating system launched by Mobike (now known as Meituan Bike), Beijing’s social credit system which seeks to improve the city’s business environment by holding people and businesses more accountable, Sesame Credit from Alibaba and the ‘Social Credit’ program coordinated by the Central Commission for Comprehensively Deepening Reforms.

READ MORE: Over 15 Million Flights and Train Trips Blocked by China's Social Credit System

[Cover image via 融资理财频道/Zhihu]

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