HONG KONG, February 23 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Despite a World Health Organization code that recommended members carefully regulate promotion, China, the world's largest market, is the worst hit, with 97 percent of mothers being targeted.
The findings do not mention names, nor do they have much legal teeth. Just 25 countries have fully implemented the code as law. However, Beijing, which does not enforce the WHO guidance, has been cracking down on irresponsible advertisers in areas like healthcare. Official initiatives to increase birth rates make mothers' and babies' welfare an even more urgent priority for policymakers.
China Feihe, China Mengniu Dairy, and Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial will have the most to lose. Feihe's $12 billion campaigns, for example, included hosting 400,000 seminars for mothers and mothers in the first half of 2021 alone. That helped the Firmus brand become the country's bestseller last year, according to Euromonitor, as the company increased market share to 22%, from 7% in 2017. Those tactics might start souring quickly. (By Katrina Ham
The author is a columnist for Reuters Breakingviews. Their views are their own.
(This column suggests that the first paragraph should include the dropped word.)
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