Internet Advertisements Become the “Disaster Zone”

The Shanghai Administrative of Industry and Commerce (“SAIC”) addressed its work on false and illegal advertisement cases in 2018. In 2018, SAIC disposed of 5,060 illegal advertisement cases and imposed 116 million yuan in fines. 4383 cases involved online advertisements, accounting for 87 percent of the total number of cases; 82.71 million yuan in fines were imposed in internet-related cases, accounting for 71 percent of the total fines.

In general, most of these cases were internet advertisements published on a website, public account, webcast or other self-media. Those advertisements are often published on their own without specific review of the contents by any third party. It is important for publishers to improve their awareness of these issues. It would be wise for publishers to conduct regular self-examination and self-correction of their advertising content to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations, and to avoid being punished for violation of the law, thereby suffering both monetary and and reputational damages.

Below are 12 typical false and illegal advertisement cases handled by the SAIC:

No. Industry Media Type Illegal Activities Penalty Relevant Articles
1 Prescription Webcast The party published a webcast titled “a must-have night with passion all night” to introduce the product’s function and efficacy, and discuss the content such as sexual underwear. CNY700,000 Article 9 and Article 16
2 Medical WeChat Moments The party issued an advertisement with the content that August 15, 1945 is day of Japan’s unconditional surrender. Why did Japan surrender unconditionally? Because there was no XXX (the name of the hospital)!” through the personal WeChat moments of some management. CNY700,000 Article 9
3 Water purification equipment Website When promoting its “retail outlets”, the party used the wrong version of Chinese map in the homepage advertisement of its own website. The map used in the advertisement contained problems such as the boundary of the AksaiChin area in China was drawn incorrectly, the borders of the southern Tibet of China were drawn incorrectly, and the South China Sea Islands, Diaoyu Islands, and Chiwei Island were missing. The territory of our country was not expressed completely and accurately. CNY600,000 Article 9
4 Food and beverage services Wechat public account The party published a WeChat tweet on its WeChat public account, the content of which include “a girl named Chun, waiting for you to flop” and other propaganda terms which goes against good social practice. (For reference, the Chinese of “a girl named Chun” is “Jiao Chun”, which also has the meaning of “caterwaul” in Chinese) CNY250,000 Article 9
5 Food and beverage services Wechat public account The party posted a tweet titled “‘I have a concubine!’ 2017 buzzwords disclose” with the erotic pictures such as “a naked young man and a naked young woman holding together” on its WeChat public account. CNY200,000 Article 9
6 Education and training Website

Wechat public account

The party posted the propaganda of “Chinese teachers training base under direct national Hanban/Confucius”, “the largest Chinese language training base in the world” on its website, which is inconsistent with the actual situations and constitutes false advertisements. The party also promoted a summer camp on its English website and used absolute words such as “the best Chinese international summer camp in China”. CNY400,000 Article 9 and Article 28
7 Education and training Website On its own website, the party posted advertisements with the contents of “signing with us and a good score can be guaranteed”, and the feelings and experiences of some participants after attending the training of the party. The above contents constitutes a guaranteed commitment to the training effect in the education and training advertisement, and illegal advertisements which use the name of the beneficiary as proof. CNY140,000 Article 24
8 Education and training Website

Operation Site

The party published website, video and poster for promoting on its own website and offline operation site, which contained comments and recommendation from students and parents about the training service of the party. The above advertisement constitutes illegal advertisement that using the name of beneficiaries for recommendation or as proof in an advertisement for education or training. CNY100,000 Article 24
9 Healthcare Food Website To promote its healthcare food, the party published advertisements on its own website, stating that its products are made of “precious raw materials: iced cods from 4.2 km below Arctic Ocean”, “no side effects after long-term use”, which constitutes false advertisements. CNY280,000 Article 28
10 Food

Finance Service

Website The party published advertisement of its products on a website, which contained the contents such as “Breast milk is composed of absolute A2 protein”. The party also posted a financing advertisement in the financial section of the aforesaid website, which contained the content of “an exclusive 7.5 percent rate of return”. CNY360,000 Article 25 and Article 28
11 Cosmetics Website

Wechat public account

The party promoted its natural repair products on its own website, saying that its products can “repair expanding micro vascular, relieve and convergence skin, adjust skin metabolism, and improve immune system functions”. The party also promoted in its WeChat public account that “the high-tech hair removal device used for high-speed hair removal treatment contains two patents”, but in fact, relevant devices or technologies had not acquired any patents. CNY250,000 Article 28

Investment and financing services




The party promoted on its own website that “there are more than 1,600 employees in our company, 89.31% of which hold college degree or above. 191 employees hold postgraduate degree, and 765 employees hold bachelor degree. 626 employees have professional qualifications including CPA, registered appraiser, legal profession and securities practice certificates, and 30 employees obtained the qualifications of senior management of asset management companies”, and other false contents.





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