Competition among car-sharing apps in China reached a fever pitch last month when local giant Shenzhou launched a vicious social media smear campaign against Uber. The reckless campaign (which also featured a cheeky typo in one of its images) accused Uber of abusing women, violence, drunk driving among other unfounded evils. Users across social media platforms were up in arms, memes were born, sides were chosen, friendships ruined.
Less than a month later it seems that Shenzhou is receiving divine (read: issued by Sina) retribution for their fallacious attempts to take down the so-called “world’s biggest taxi company” in China’s red-hot car-sharing app market. Weibo’s Official Enterprise management account recently announced that Shenzhou will be punished for their baseless accusations against Uber.
As evidenced in the original post, Shenzhou’s punishment is as follows:
Revocation of verified account (no more blue V by their name, which indicates a commercial business)
Shenzhou’s account can’t gain followers for three months
According to Sina’s post, this punishment has nothing to do with the content of the campaign itself, but is punishment for not registering the campaign with Sina before launch. Regardless, we’re pretty sure we can read between the lines on this one. Hopefully this is part of a push for more honest business and marketing practices among China’s digital giants, cutting down on protectionism, copyright violation, and intellectual property theft. Unlicensed music streaming services, are you catching this?