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China's Name-and-Shame TV Show Puts Household Brands on Edge

  • Apple, McDonald’s were past targets of ‘consumer rights’ show
  • Missile system prompted China action against Korean companies
An open air shopping mall in Beijing, China, on March 6, 2016.
Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg
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Household brands in China are bracing for the government’s version of public-service journalism -- the annual program on state-run TV that uses hidden cameras to highlight what the network calls companies’ unfair practices against consumers.

China Central Television’s March 15 broadcast for World Consumer Rights Day has targeted some of the world’s biggest companies in the past, including Apple Inc., McDonald’s Corp. and Volkswagen AG. The name-and-shame show not only attracts eyeballs, it also gets results -- Apple’s Tim Cook apologized in 2013 and McDonald’s retrained some workers in 2012.