(Yicai Global) May 25 -- China's largest cooking oil producer, Yihai Kerry Investments Co., has offered a record-breaking reward to anyone who can track down rogues who reignited malicious online speculation.
The firm has put up CNY10 million (USD1.45 million) to whoever finds the uploaders of a video slamming its best-selling brand, Arowana, it said yesterday. The reward will be the largest of its kind in China, Chen Bo, general manager of Yihai Kerry Foodstuffs Marketing Co., told an Yicai Global reporter.
The content targeted is a short video that went viral online, which alleges Arowana oil is made from 'gutter oil.' The video originally surfaced in May 2014, when People's Daily posted it online making the same claims, but government investigations shut it down that year and the reporter, who falsely identified a chemical-carrying truck as one transporting cooking oil, apologized on the news agency's website. The video has since been re-uploaded and Yihai Kerry hopes to track down the perpetrator.
He Dongping, executive director of the China Cereals and Oils Association's oil branch, confirmed the content of the video is untrue, and called on all cooking oil makers to avoid online speculation and ensure fair competition.
Yihai Kerry owns a number of cereal and cooking oil brands, including Fulinmen and Wonder Farm, and has the biggest market share in the country. However, it has become the victim of a number of online rumors in recent years.
The firm believes the reposting of the video was an organized act aimed at tarnishing the brand's reputation. It was first posted on Sina Weibo, then reposted on other major video sites and on WeChat, the messaging app run by Tencent Holdings Ltd. [HKG:0700].
Yikai Kerry Investments is a Chinese conglomerate established by Singapore's Wilmar International Ltd. [SGX:F34].