Chinese blogger escalates dispute with Estée Lauder with lawsuit

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Chinese blogger escalates dispute with Estée Lauder with lawsuit
A well-known Chinese blogger, Hao Yu, claims that he is suing the Estée Lauder Companies, after alleging that its luxury brand La Mer was responsible for misleading advertising.

Hao, who is also known as “Doctor Big Mouth”, announced that he has filed a civil lawsuit against the beauty conglomerate to his 1.2m followers on Weibo.

According to documents Hao posted on Weibo​, the blogger is seeking a refund as well as damages from the Estée Lauder Cos totalled at 5,800yuan ($844).

In addition, he has also demands that Estée Lauder Cos publish a public apology in a newspaper.

Under scrutiny

This news comes just days after Hao wrote a scathing Weibo post on September 26 saying: “Yin-yang websites, fake ads, La Mer, how long are you going to lie to Chinese consumers?”

The blogger compared the alleged description of its signature Crème de la Mer on La Mer’s Chinese website to descriptions on their Japanese and US sites.

He said that on the Chinese site, La Mer claimed the product has a restorative effect, and that it had repaired burn scars of Dr Max Huber, its creator.

However, on US and Japanese websites, Hao claims, La Mer describes Crème de la Mer properties as “soothing”.

According to his profile, Hao allegedly graduated from the University of Hong Kong with a doctoral degree in organic chemistry. It also says that he worked in product development for L’Oréal Chinese division for six years before becoming a blogger.

Threat to reputation

In August, the Estée Lauder Cos reported that La Mer rocketed past the billion dollar mark for the first time during the last quarter of 2018.

The company attributed the brand’s success to Chinese consumers, especially the millennial Chinese, who made up more than 40% of first-time users of La Mer.

In all, Estée Lauder Cos sales in China reached a billion US dollars for the first time, becoming the fourth billion-dollar brand in the company’s portfolio and contributing to the 29% growth in Asia-Pacific.

It is too early to tell if La Mer will be affected by the negative publicity generated by Hao’s post, which has already garnered over 100,000 likes and shared more than 97,000 times.

La Mer has not responded to Hao’s accusation nor has it replied to Cosmetics Design Asia’s two requests for comment.

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