• By The Financial District


US fast food chain Burger King and a car manufactured by a General Motors (GM) joint venture were picked out for criticism on Thursday by China’s state television station in its high-profile annual show on consumer rights, Sophie Yu and Brenda Goh reported for Reuters late on July 16, 2020.

Since it was first aired by state-owned China Central Television (CCTV) in 1991, the television program has become an event watched in fear by international and local brands alike, due to the potential impact on sales and public relations of appearing on its list of shame. The program has in previous years criticised foreign businesses such as Apple and Starbucks, resulting in prompt apologies from the companies.

Burger King and GM were the only foreign firms to feature on this year’s show, which mainly focused on Chinese companies. The criticisms come at a time of heightened tension between the United States and China over trade, technology and other issues. Burger King, owned by Restaurant Brands International (RBI) but whose Chinese outlets are mainly managed by Tab Food Investments (TFI), was criticized for allegedly selling products that failed to meet its own standards. The program cited a Burger King outlet in Nanchang, southeast China, where it alleged employees only put two pieces of cheese on the burger when there should be three.

The show also interviewed buyers of the Baojun 560 sport-utility vehicle made by General Motors’ Guangxi-based joint venture with SAIC Motor and a local partner. The customers complained of gearbox problems. The venture recalled 12,485 Baojun 560 in 2016 to fix gearbox issues.