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Temu, the controversial Chinese e-commerce giant looking to take on Amazon, is returning to the big game on Sunday with a Super Bowl ad that lawmakers are calling on Paramount Global and CBS not to run.
Last year’s advertisement touted Temu’s low prices and invited consumers to shop “like a billionaire.” The multi-million dollar investment put Temu on the map and by the end of 2023, it was the No. 1 most-downloaded app in the U.S. with monthly active users topping 51 million this January, up nearly 300% year over year, according to data from Sensor Tower.
The specifics of this year’s ad haven’t been revealed, but already it’s marred in controversy.
The company is looking to win over U.S. shoppers by being the next best “everything store” with lower prices than competitors, but lawmakers say it uses slave labor in its supply chain and spies on its customers.
On Wednesday, 11 Republican lawmakers sent a letter to the CEOs of CBS, which is airing the Super Bowl, and parent company Paramount urging them not to run the advertisement.
“Since last year’s Super Bowl, Congress, through the House Select Committee on the Chinese Community Party, has uncovered alarming findings that indicate Temu has a pattern of noncompliance towards illicit products entering the United States market,” the missive read.
“Specifically, Temu ‘does not have any system to ensure compliance with the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA). This all but guarantees that shipments from Temu containing products made with forced labor are entering the United States on a regular basis, in violation of the UFLPA,'” it says, citing the House committee report.
Allowing Temu’s commercial to air “would be a touchdown for the Chinese Communist Party against the home team,” the letter stated.
The letter was sent by Rep. Carol Miller, R-W.V., and signed by Reps. Byron Donalds, R-Fla., Jim Banks, R-Ind., Nicole Malliotakis, R-N.Y., Christopher Smith, R-N.J., Pete Stauber, R-Minn., Ronny Jackson, R-Tex., Michelle Steel, R-Calif., Beth Van Duyne, R-Tex., James Baird, R-Ind. and Mike Carey, R-Ohio.
Paramount and CBS declined to comment.
Temu, along with Shein and other apparel retailers with a manufacturing presence in China, has been under congressional investigation from the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party since May.
While cotton and other raw materials that can be traced to forced labor is a problem across the entire fashion industry, Shein regularly provides data on how often banned cotton is found in its clothes and publishes the results of the audits it conducts on its manufacturers. Other retailers also publish audit results.
Temu has yet to provide such data…