Whisper campaigns: market risks through online rumours on the Chinese Internet

David Kurt Herold

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The rapid growth of the Chinese Internet has brought about the emergence of many new channels of communication between businesses (B2B), between businesses and consumers (B2C and C2B) and between customers (C2C). Amidst this growth, Chinese Internet users have demonstrated a fondness for online rumours that has become dangerous for a variety of organisations and businesses. Within the Chinese market consumers have emerged as actors whose interactions are posing a new form of risk for companies wishing to enter the Chinese market. Since 2009, companies have repeatedly been harmed by fast-spreading online rumours that called the quality of products into question, or attacked their ethics in dealing with the general public. Starting in 2010, online rumour campaigns have also been on sale to harm rivals, or to promote one’s own product. Using a few example cases from food-related incidents, this article will argue that companies operating in this highly suspicious and fraught environment should shift their focus from pure marketing to a much deeper level of engagement with their customers, and also keep track of the online chatter about their brand, their products and their image so as to minimise risks to their enterprise and to successfully sell their products and services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)269-283
Number of pages15
JournalChina Journal of Social Work
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Sept 2015


  • China
  • consumers
  • food business
  • Internet
  • online rumours

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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