Jakub Porzycki | Nurfoto | fake images
Temu, the controversial Chinese e-commerce giant seeking to conquer Amazonreturns to the big game on Sunday with a Super Bowl ad that lawmakers are calling for Paramount Global and CBS will not show up.
The company, owned by PDD HoldingsHe rose to fame last year after running an ad during the big game just months after it was founded.
Last year’s ad touted Temu’s low prices and invited consumers to shop “like a billionaire.” The multi-million dollar investment put Temu on the map and by the end of 2023, it was the number one most downloaded app in the US, with monthly active users surpassing 51 million in January, up almost 300% year over year , according to data from Sensor Tower.
Details of this year’s announcement have not been revealed, but it is already mired in controversy.
The company seeks to win over American shoppers by being the next best “everything store” with lower prices than its competitors, but lawmakers say it uses slave labor in its supply chain and spies on its customers.
On Wednesday, 11 Republican lawmakers sent a letter to the CEOs of CBS, which broadcasts the Super Bowl, and parent company Paramount urging them not to run the ad.
“Since last year’s Super Bowl, Congress, through the House Select Committee on the Chinese Community Party, has uncovered alarming findings indicating that Temu has a pattern of non-compliance with respect to illicit products entering the market of the United States,” the letter said.
“Specifically, Temu’ has no system to ensure compliance with the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). This virtually guarantees that Temu shipments containing products made with forced labor enter the United States on a regular basis, in violation of the UFLPA,'” he says, citing the House committee report.
Allowing Temu’s commercial to air “would be a touchdown for the Chinese Communist Party against the home team,” the letter said.
The letter was sent by Rep. Carol Miller, RW.V., and signed by Reps. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., Jim Banks, R-Ind., Nicole Malliotakis, RN.Y., Christopher Smith, RN.J. ., Pete Stauber, R-Minnesota, Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, Michelle Steel, R-California, Beth Van Duyne, R-Texas, James Baird, R-Indiana. and Mike Carey, R-Ohio.
Paramount and CBS declined to comment.
Temu, along with Shein and other clothing retailers with a manufacturing presence in China, has been under congressional investigation by the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party since May.
While cotton and other raw materials that can be attributed to forced labor are a problem throughout the fashion industry, Shein regularly provides data on how often banned cotton is found in its clothing and publishes the results of audits that makes to its manufacturers. Other retailers also publish audit results.
Temu has yet to provide such data publicly.
“Company officials lazily point out standard terms and conditions that ask suppliers not to use forced labor, but Temu does not conduct audits and has no compliance system to prevent supporting atrocities,” the member said in a statement. committee, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo. Friday bulletin. “The company even admitted that it ‘does not expressly prohibit third-party sellers from selling products based on their origin in the Xinjiang Autonomous Region’ and completely ignores the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Law.”
In a statement to CNBC, Luetkemeyer called Temu’s announcement “disgusting.”
“Some people watch the Super Bowl as much for the commercials as for the game. It’s sickening to think that a company built on slave labor and with close ties to the Chinese Communist Party would make a direct appeal to millions of Americans at the same time. “. Lutkemeyer said. “I hope it just draws attention to the sinister undertone of both Temu and Pinduoduo if people see it. One eye-catching advertisement for the site’s cheap products is lipstick on the ugliest pig around.”
In response, a Temu spokesperson told CNBC that its standards and practices around the use of forced labor are “no different” from major e-commerce players such as “Amazon, eBay and Etsy” and the accusations “are completely unfounded.”
“Before setting up their stores and listing products on Temu, each seller must sign an agreement. This document represents a commitment to maintain legal and compliant business operations, and strictly comply with the legal standards and regulations of their specific markets,” it stated. the spokesperson said.
“The use of forced, criminal or child labor is strictly prohibited. Employment by all our merchants and suppliers must be strictly voluntary. They must respect freedom of association and workers’ rights to collective bargaining. Traders, suppliers and other third parties of Temu The parties must pay their employees and contractors on time and must comply with all applicable local laws regarding wages and hours of work.”