Companies fined for 'vulgar' ads

Hu Min
Watchdog highlights cases of illegal content in advertisements that included a live broadcast describing the effects of a sexual dysfunction drug. 
Hu Min

Shanghai's market watchdog released details of 12 typical illegal advertising cases on Monday.

Fines of up to 700,000 yuan (US$103,000) were dished out for misleading or offensive claims in ads for products including cosmetics, education and medicine, the Market Supervision and Management Bureau said.   

Shanghai Haiwang Xingchen Pharmacy Co Ltd was fined 700,000 yuan for a live webcast in June on erectile dysfunction drug Viagra. Topics such as sexual habits, positions and lingerie were discussed. More than 150,000 people watched the broadcast which the bureau said violated the advertising law. 

The Gourmet Noodle House chain was fined 250,000 yuan for a lewd WeChat post. 

A fine of 200,000 yuan was imposed on Shanghai Weiba Catering Management Co Ltd which runs the Grandpa tea brand. The company released an article on its WeChat account with title ernai (second mistress) to promote a new drink with photos with semi-naked models with the brand's milk tea between their breasts. 

Pentair (Shanghai), a water purification equipment company, was fined 600,000 yuan for using an inaccurate map of China on its website. Several Chinese islands, including the Diaoyu Islands, were missing from the map, according to the bureau. 

Mandarin House, a language school in Shanghai, was fined 400,000 yuan for claiming that it was "the world's biggest Chinese language education base," which it is not, and a claim that it was "the most experienced Chinese language and culture service supplier," a breach of the law which bans the use of unsubstantiated superlatives. 

Retailer Gome.com.cn was fined 360,000 yuan for claiming its milk powder could replace breast milk. A Gome financing ad also promised a 7.5 percent yield. Promise of a yield is banned. 

City market authorities handled 5,060 illegal ads last year, 87 percent of which were online. Fines or seizures of 116 million yuan were made. 

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