China’s Temu drops ad campaign in Europe over personal data use fears

Chinese online marketplace Temu said Saturday it would drop an advertising offer in which clients could gain vouchers in exchange for surrendering their personal data for an indefinite period.

The campaign, launched this month in England and later in France, promised vouchers of up to 100 euros if a client downloaded the Temu shopping app and invited another person to sign up. But the terms of the offer state that Temu is granted the right to use for life, and without notice, much of a client’s personal data.

British news site The Independent reported this week that the terms specified the use of “photo, name likeness, voice, opinions, statements, biographical information, and/or hometown and state for promotional or advertising purposes in any media worldwide”.

Temu, part of Chinese low-price retailer Pinduoduo, said in a statement to AFP that its offer had been a “great success in France, with numerous satisfied clients”. Nevertheless it had been halted in both France and Britain because of “misunderstandings on the extent of client data use”. Temu said it had only involved “user names and profile pictures”. It did not respond to requests on whether the promotional offer was being used in other countries.

“Temu is committed to client confidentiality,” it said. “We do not and will not sell client data.”

Earlier this month, Temu’s parent Pinduoduo, a main competitor of the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, reported a 90-percent surge in net profit for 2023, to 60 billion yuan (USD 8.3 billion).

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