Foreign firms in CHINA under growing media scrutiny
Posted: September 6th, 2011 - 4:51pm
Major Western firms are under increasing scrutiny from China's state media, facing exposes and fiery criticism over hot issues like food safety, and made easy targets by their high profiles and lack of political protection.
In the past few weeks, a series of accusations have been levelled at well-known Western brands -- including Unilever's (ULVR.L)(UNc.AS) Knorr brand, and Yum Brands Inc's (YUM.N) Kentucky Fried Chicken -- that they had falsely labelled their products.
The attention has spread beyond food issues to other multinationals, including ConocoPhillips (COP.N) which received a pasting in the press for its handling of an oil spill, and even some high profile local firms like Internet search engine Baidu (BIDU.O), China's answer to Google Inc. (GOOG.O)
Analysts say the growing popularity of microblogging only increases the risk that foreign businesses in China will attract unwelcome media attention.