Chinese beverage maker in Hainan in hot water over job ad promising recruits money, cars, houses, and ‘beautiful girls, handsome boys’

Alice Yan
·3-min read

A Chinese market supervision authority has launched an investigation into a controversial recruitment ad by a beverage manufacturer claiming new recruits will receive cars, houses, high incomes and be chased by “beautiful girls or handsome boys” once they join its management training programme.

Coconut Palm Group, based in Haikou on the tropical island of Hainan, was criticised heavily by the public after the ad appeared last week. The company has a long history of making controversial claims, including that its coconut drinks will enlarge women’s breasts.

In the advertisement recruiting people to join its “school incubating general managers and vice general managers”, the company said they will hire 20 “students”, who are de facto trainees as part of its management grooming system.

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They claim that “once being its students”, people will have cars, houses, high incomes and will be “definitely wooed by beautiful girls or handsome boys”.

The company triggered controversy in 2017 by using several women with big breasts who said in its advertisement “one cup a day, white, tender and breasts chubby”.

A spokesperson from the group said they made the job advertisement with the intention of “seeking talent with eagerness”, the news portal Red Star News reported.

A previous controversial advert for the Coconut Palm drink featuring women frolicking on a beach after claims the drink would enlarge breasts. Photo: Weibo
A previous controversial advert for the Coconut Palm drink featuring women frolicking on a beach after claims the drink would enlarge breasts. Photo: Weibo

“What we said in the advertisement is true. It’s not fake propaganda, nor an intentional hype-up,” the person was quoted as saying. “It’s no need for us to attract people’s eyes. This is the propaganda style our company has been insisting on.”

According to the ad job applicants must be at least university-degree holders and under 28 years old. It said staff will have to work for the company for at least 14 years to prove their abilities before being considered for the general manager’s position.

Detailed annual incomes for the entry-level employees are shown in the ad, including 168,000 yuan (US$25,560) a year for staff with a bachelor’s degree, 252,000 yuan (US$38,330) for those with a master’s degree, and 336,000 yuan (US$51,100) for PhD degree holders.

Hainan Provincial Market Supervision Bureau said it was investigating the company for allegedly illegal advertisements, the Hainan Daily reported on Wednesday.

The authority has talked with the management of the group, advising them that the content in the commercial has violated advertising laws, the newspaper reported.

The group, one of the top 10 beverage producers in China, has long been ridiculed by the public for its rustic and country style advertisement with bright colours and big-sized Chinese characters listing its product’s advantages which it often claims can enlarge women’s breasts.

It triggered controversy in 2017 by using several women with big breasts who said in its advertisement “one cup a day, white, tender and breasts chubby”.

In another advertisement in 2019 featured three women who claimed that drinking coconut juice every day can enlarge breasts.

The company defended itself by saying that its advertisement was not vulgar or fake because the slogans meant that the women drank coconut juice from childhood to adulthood.

“It’s not the first time that Coconut Palm Group screwed up thanks to its vulgar advertisement,” said an editorial at the news portal Thepaper on Thursday.

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