Brands Cut Ties With Zhang Jike After Alleged Scandal Engulfs Chinese Table Tennis Star
Jie Shuyi | Liu Xiaojie | Le Yan
DATE:  Apr 03 2023
/ SOURCE:  Yicai
Brands Cut Ties With Zhang Jike After Alleged Scandal Engulfs Chinese Table Tennis Star Brands Cut Ties With Zhang Jike After Alleged Scandal Engulfs Chinese Table Tennis Star

(Yicai Global) April 3 -- A number of brands, including Anta Sports Products and FAW Toyota Motor, have distanced themselves from Zhang Jike, deleting photos and information from promotional materials and social media accounts about their cooperation with the reportedly scandal-hit Chinese table tennis star.

A search for Zhang’s name on Anta’s official Weibo account came up empty. The Xiamen-based firm told Yicai Global that it had indeed worked with Zhang before, but did not comment on the current matter. Carmaker FAW Toyota also deleted all posts featuring Zhang, 35, from its Weibo account and pulled all Zhang-related promotional pictures.

Zhang also endorsed sport nutrition food brand Nutrend. Its customer service staff told Yicai Global today that Nutrend had pulled all pictures of Zhang immediately after the scandal broke. The company apologized for any discomfort his images may have caused consumers.

Last week, a social media report claimed Zhang was involved in a gambling dispute and was suspected of sharing private videos of his former girlfriend. Zhang is not involved in any debt dispute nor has he damaged the privacy of others to protect himself, his studio said in response.

Zhang was a member of China’s table tennis team and a three-time Olympic gold medalist. After retiring, he switched into the entertainment industry. Zhang ranked second on newspaper Titan Sports’ 2017 China sports rich list with an annual income of CNY60 million (USD8.7 million) in 2016, second only to swimming world champion Sun Yang.

Zhang is currently associated with only one firm in Beijing, according to corporate registration information. The firm, which is involved in video, advertising, performance brokerage and other businesses, is 55 percent owned by Tian Guojun, with Zhang holding 35 percent and Yao Hui the remaining 10 percent.

Meanwhile, netizens who opened franchise stores of Reinforcements of the Monkey, a milk tea brand co-founded by Zhang, also alleged false advertising by the brand and complained about the absence of commercial franchise licensing.

The brand is owned by a namesake catering management company in Beijing founded in 2018. The market regulator in the city’s Chaoyang district labeled it an entity with abnormal operations in May 2021.

Zhang was not listed as a shareholder of the company, but media reports said other people held its shares on his behalf. The brand has also stated publicly that the catering management firm was co-founded by the former table tennis champion.

Editors: Liao Shumin, Peter Thomas

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Keywords:   Zhang Jike,Anta Sports Products,FAW Toyota Motor,scandal