Ethic Problem of Johnson and Johnson

                                                                                                                                       

There is an old ethic problem popped up on Chinese media again these days. It is one chemical that Johnson & Johnson used in their star product Johnson’s Baby Shampoo has chance to cause cancer.

  1. Briefing:

More than two years ago, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics released the groundbreaking report, No More Toxic Tub, which revealed that popular kids’ bath products – including Johnson’s Baby Shampoo – contained chemicals (quaternium-15) linked to cancer. The organization asked Johnson & Johnson to stop using that particular chemical ingredient.

  1. Company’s fixing:

After hearing the voice from their customers, Johnson & Johnson indeed stopped using the risky ingredient, but the reality is that they only took the action in some countries. Unfortunately, till now, these products are still in the U.S. and Chinese market. So the media in China and the U.S. bring out this issue again and they want to hear the response from J&J Company.

On Nov. 2nd, the explanation J&J company gave to Chinese customers is that: “We meet the regulation and quality standard provided by Chinese government… We can understand that some people concern about the chemical ingredient we use and we will try our best to find the substitute for that ingredient.”

  1. Problem & Comment:

The response J&J Company gave to public seems appropriate and decent, however according to Campaign for Safe Cosmetics:

The analysis reveals that Johnson’s Baby Shampoo sold in the United States, Canada, China, Indonesia and Australia contains the formaldehyde preservative quaternium-15, while products sold in the U.K., Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, the Netherlands and Japan contain non-formaldehyde preservatives.

From all kinds of information above, we can clearly see that J&J didn’t take immediate action to prevent using the cancer-causing chemical ingredient in some countries. But at the same time, they sell non-quaternium-15 products in other countries. Although the company claimed that they meet the standard of certain countries about using that chemical ingredient, I still think it is unethical for them to use different formulas in different countries especially when you know the ingredient you use will do harm to your customers. Moreover, these products are designed for babies. They are extremely vulnerable and weak. I think the company should treat them with “special care” just as their slogan in China-“Born with Love.”

The Power of “Weiboers”

I “hate” to mention about Sina Weibo again as if that is the only thing important in my empty life. However I would like to talk to you about the real thing happened near me in Weibo, which let me see the power of ordinary people – “Weiboers” have now in social media.

On Nov. 14th Beijing time, I saw one of my Shanghai doll-collecting friends (Sugar Bear) posted one piece of horrible news via micro blog about her father, quoting “ Everyone please help me to collect the evidence to prove my father’s innocence! My father was a victim of manslaughter in the neighborhood. However, according to the news it was reported that my father was the lover of the killer’s wife…

(The micro blog post by my online friend Sugar Bear)

I felt shocking to see this information at first and I could not believe it. Then I checked her Weibo page and the reaction of her close friends’ to see if it is true. Unfortunately, instead of April Fool likely joke, it is real. I reposted this micro blog and asked my followers to reposted it just like my other doll-collecting friends did. After that, I also checked the website that carrying the incorrect news. I felt very angry and cannot imagine how terrible Sugar Bear felt when she just lost her father, even worse was that her father had a false charges.

The next step was that her close friends found out the source of that news and found that journalist in Weibo. They reposted that untruth micro blog and added their own comment to asked the reporter to apologize to the victim’s family member. They kept following the movements of that reporter and replied to his micro blog to ask him to apologize.

(We reposted and asked the reporter to apologize)

To our biggest relief, not only the original micro blog of Sugar Bear’s was reposted by over 2700 times just in less than six hours. After the reporter interviewing Sugar Bear’s family and learning the truth, he finally apologized. He posted a micro blog to briefly introduce the news and then apologized to the victim’s family. 

(The reporter’s apology)

From this case we can see the power of ordinary netizens in social media. Just as I mentioned in my last blog post, now some of the industries, especially in the journalism area, the reporters are “spied” by the publics. If they made any unreal report, the audience will find the truth, confront with them and urge them to reveal the truth. I think that is the best thing in social media-no lies and only truth exists.

Sina Weibo Brings New Concern about Ethical Online (2)

Last week, I brought you a general idea of Sina Weibo and what its good side is. As you can see from my last post, Sina Weibo now has a big number of users and it has impacts on a large number of people. There will certainly be some negative things appearing. So this week, I would like to talk about its down side.

  1. “Buy” Followers

Just like Twitter, there are three “magical numbers” in your Weibo account, which are number of tweets, following and followers. It appears like the more followers you have, the more powerful you are. For some people, large number of followers can make them feel good. Moreover, to companies’ Weibo websites, the number of followers is even more important to them because the number of followers you have means how popular and welcomed your brand is. So someone intend to “buy” followers for personal satisfaction and some companies decide to “buy” followers to attract their potential customers. However, I think this kind of performance makes no sense. It just builds up a fake illusion and will not have a good run in long-term.

2.   False Advertisement

Just as I mentioned in last paragraph, some companies take their Weibo account quite seriously as they see Weibo as a new media platform to promote their products or corporate images. Some merchandisers will also take Weibo as a new method to place their advertisement. They will find some Weibo users who have a massive number of followers to spread their ads by paying them. Of course, I think it is reasonable they treat popular Weibo users as the ads carriers. But to my concerns, the “carriers” they do not do a good job to check if the ads they release or retweet are real trusted companies or just false advertisement. I think the popular Weibo users are different from newspapers or TV channel because they are more “humane”. They will interactive with their followers directly sometimes. Moreover, their followers “choose” to follow them because the followers love the fun that Weibo account bring to them. So it will easier for the followers to trust their following account than trust commercials on newspapers or TV.

3.The Concern of Copyright

There is no doubt that some of the popular Weibo users actually work hard to create the new funny punch lines and articles to other people. They deserve to own their copyright of what they wrote about or sent. However, it is too easy to copy paste and do any editing work to steal other people’s tweets and make it yours. The war of words between the original creators and the “stealers” never stops on the Weibo.

How can we make regulations of these situation? I think that is the most serious problem that the arising of Weibo brings to us.

*The picture is from Guangzhou Metro

Sina Weibo Brings New Concern about Ethical Online (1)

Background check:

Just as Twitter brought whole new energy to the U.S. and Europe 5 years ago, the Chinese version of Twitter-“Sina Weibo” also makes a big hit in the Mainland China.

Personally, I love Sina Weibo the most compared to Renren or Kaixin. My favorite social media website is Sina Weibo, because I can follow those who have the same interests as me and I can see the news I am most interested in all the time. More over, I am not “obliged” to follow my friends or teachers like in Renren or Kaixin and I can just enjoy the interesting micro blogs I like. And it’s really user-friendly, you can easily upload your pictures to your Weibo page and even have a special effect edit.

(Screenshot of my Sina Weibo page)

To the journalism field, Sina Weibo also makes impacts on their work. Weibo becomes the first place to release the breaking news. For example, the first piece of information from Wenzhou Train Crash accident happened in July 23rd this year was sent by a survivor of this tragic incident on Sina Weibo. This micro blog was reposted for over one hundred and ten thousand times.

(The first micro blog sent about Wenzhou Train Crash)

Moreover, to the whole society, Weibo also makes something different. Besides general public people who like to stay online create their Weibo accounts, most of public figures like pop singer, actor/actress etc., has their own account too, even the big organizations and companies sign up for their Weibo account. Accounts like this generally have crazy number of followers (you can see more in the image below: it’s the Top 10 be followed people on Weibo). People are addicted to keep refreshing their Weibo page to find something new and fun. Owing to the smart phone and iPad, it becomes easier for public to “keep in touch” with Weibo all day.

(Top 10 people who has the most followers)

According to the financial report of Sina Company released on August 18th 2011, there are over 200 million accounts on Sina Weibo and the number of its users still increases by daily.

So, to be one of the most popular social media website in the Mainland China is of course a blessing to the company. Sina Weibo also does good things to us like more transparent and timely news, easier to find who has the similar hobby as you… However to be such a huge stage contains so many people and movements, there also come some new concerns.

What are the concerns I found? I will talk more specifically on my next blog post.

What’s wrong with Ajisan Ramen?

High Nutrition Soup = Soup Concentrate and Cheap Flavoring Powders?

Ajisan Ramen is a Japan based chain of fast-food restaurants selling Japanese ramen noodle soup dishes. This brand has a great hit in China and especially in Shanghai where there are 132 branches. Also in Mainland China, there are a total of 625 Ajisan Ramen Restaurants.

Many young people in China love Ajisan Ramen, including myself. When at weekends, you will see a huge line outside the restaurant. I love this place, too. Although the restaurant is crowded and loud, the price is not that cheap, the food there is really tasty. And we are all drawn by the slogan they provided “Got Soup-based Food Product?” and “Soup-endous!” In their commercials, the soup is also a big selling point they guarantee that all their soups come from “a broth of pork bones simmered to perfection.”

(Screenshot of their official website)

However just three months ago, revealed by Shanghai Daily, Ajisan Ramen actually uses soup concentrate and cheap flavoring powders to make soup. When this news showed up, it rocked the position of “ The King of White Soup” (which is said to have over 1,600mg of calcium in it) that Ajisan Ramen claimed in their commercials.

Since that day, this scandal was all over the media both online and in newspaper. After that, even more negative news was revealed such as The cost of Ajisan Ramen soup concentrate and powder less than 1 RMB (equals to 20 cents), The nutrition level of soup is never certified by China Agriculture University and There is sanitation concern during the procedure of making soup.

Obviously it made a bad influence of this once be-loved brand. As a result, Xinhua Financial Post covered the news of two hundred and ninety thousand of netizens claimed that they would not eat at Ajisan Ramen ever. More severely the stock of Ajisan Ramen dropped tremendously and the market value of this brand shrank by half.

(The stock dropped since the scandal was broke out)

Just as we talked about the ethical questions in Social Media Class, I think a company should never lie to their customers. They shouldn’t make fake commercials and exaggerate their products too much. If they did so, as soon as the real news was revealed, they would eat their own medicine and it would definitely be bitter, because nothing is worse than losing your credibility and your trust from customers.

Taobao – Change the Way of Shopping in China (2)

(4) Protect both shop owners and buyers

Let me introduce more about the purchasing process, which, actually, protect both shop owners and buyers with the help of Alipay. First, customer can click buy and pay the money to Alipay, then the purchasing status will showed as “buyer already paid the money.” After that, when shop owner shipped the goods you bought, he will update the tracking number and the status turns to “shop owner already shipped the goods.” Generally, buyer have ten days for getting their products, and if products didn’t come in time buyer can extend waiting time after the permission of shop owner. On the other hand, if customer didn’t confirm their money to shop owner Alipay will automatically do that without the permission of customer.

2. Rising Delivery Industry

Taobao does not just glow alone with the increasing number of purchasiProxy-Connection: keep-alive
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online delivery industry also has risen.

The reason is pretty obvious because when you purchase products online there must be someone there to deliver the goods for you. When the online purchasing became a habit of Chinese people, here come several delivery companies such as Shunfeng, Yuantong, Yunda and etc. Owing to Chinese market is so big, and the delivery fee is relatively low (1 US dollar for inside city delivery and 2 US dollar for nationwide delivery) so some of the delivery companies have to raise their price to let customers choose other company for delivering, because there are no room for the goods!! During the holiday season, most of the delivery company stock rooms are full and couriers are extremely busy.

(Here are the logos of express company I mentioned before)

If Taobao does not exist, there will not be so many delivery companies and the delivery industry will not be as flourishing as nowadays.

3. Worldwide Shopping Service

Another amazing thing Taobao brings us is that it gives us a chance to shop worldwide. Some of Chinese people who live in foreign countries like Japan and America open an online shop to sell products, which only can be purchased in foreign country. Taobao shop owners in foreign countries can buy the goods first and then deliver them to China. Of course, the buyers will pay the delivery fee. It sounds like buyers cannot get a good bargain, but actually, when it is a sale season like in the U.S., even pay additional worldwide delivery fee, people in China still can get reasonable price goods compared to the price in the Mainland. Besides the good price, sometimes you are not able to buy something in China as I mentioned before. For example, I am a fan of collecting dolls and the dolls I like exclusively sell in Japan. If I want to get one, I have to turn to the Taobao shop owners who live in Japan for help.

The appearance of Taobao is not just as simple as it looks. It changes our life, it changes the industry situation and it brings more people jobs. I think that’s the charisma of social media – it brings change and brings convenience to our life.

Taobao – Change the Way of Shopping in China (1)

As my last two posts, I still want to talk about the websites which made a big impact on Chinese people’s life. So today I would like to talk about Taobao.

(Screenshot of Taobao‘s Homepage)

Although I already have mentioned about Taobao in my last post, still, let’s have a quick look of what Taobao is. Defined by Wikipedia: “Taobao is a Chinese language website for online shopping, similar to eBayRakuten and Amazon, operated in the People’s Republic of China by Alibaba Group.”

But how did Taobao change Chinese people’s shopping habit and what other influences it brought out?

1. From now on, just browse and click!

I think the biggest change Taobao made is that now most of Chinese people, especially people under 40 years old, intend to shop online instead of going to the shopping malls. Sometimes, even people over middle-age will ask their children to buy things in Taobao, like my mother. Why so many people choose online shopping?

(1) Accelerating Pace of Life

Most of people who use Taobao are school students or company employees. They are immersed in tight schedule,  so they may not have much time to shop in stores. To them, shopping online is the most convenient way. People can just browse and click. The next step is just waiting for the goods coming to you.

(2) Shop Owners/Customers Evaluation system & Goods Quality Feedback

How to find a trustworthy Taobao shop owner? Actually Taobao makes it obvious  to his customer according to their “shop owners evaluation system.” After shopping, every customer need to give a feedback about the products they purchased, and the choices are “Good,” “Fair” and “Bad”. Moreover, if some of the customers forget to give feedbacks, the system will automatically choose “Good”. The system works vise versa on customers. So when you shopping in website you can easily find the shop owners credit level and you also can see comments about the products that you are interested.

(3) Alipay     

“Launched in 2004,  Alipay is a third-party online payment platform. ” (By Wikipedia) The most amazing thing about Alipay is that you can give your money to the shop owners after you received your goods. The process is you pay for the products first and Alipay will keep your money. Only after you confirmed that you are satisfied with the products you purchased, then Alipay will give your money to the shop owners.

However as far as we see, there is a little bit customer bias in Taobao. What other brilliant features about Taobao can attract so many people to open their online shop in Taobao?

I will tell you next time!