Chinese regulator probes luxury hotel chains over poor hygiene after undercover expose

Deluxe hotels apologized after a secret video report went viral. (Supplied)
Updated 17 November 2018
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Chinese regulator probes luxury hotel chains over poor hygiene after undercover expose

BEIJING: China’s tourism regulator has launched an investigation into poor hygiene at a string of five-star hotels, including global chains such as the Ritz Carlton and Shangri-La, after an undercover expose went viral and prompted a public outcry.

The undercover video report, posted by an Internet celebrity named Huazong on Wednesday, showed cleaning staff at various luxury hotels using a single cloth to clean toilets as well as water cups and basins.

China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism said it had asked authorities in five provinces to investigate the issue, which has already prompted a flurry of apologies from big-name hotel chains.

The 12-minute video features international chains such as the Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc-owned Conrad Beijing and Waldorf Astoria, as well as Marriott International Inc’s Sheraton and Le Royal Meridien.

Huazong, who has 322,000 followers on China’s Twitter-like Weibo, said he recorded the videos during stays at deluxe hotels over the past few years. He said that it was common for staff to use dirty towels to clean cups.

His revelations drew wide attention and caused a nationwide public outcry. Hotels including the Park Hyatt in Beijing, the Shangri-La in Fuzhou, and the Four Seasons in Shanghai issued apologies and vowed to improve service quality.

The Mandarin Oriental hotel in the commercial hub of Shanghai vowed “it would not tolerate the inappropriate cleaning behavior in guest rooms shown in the video.”

The Shangri-La said it was taking steps to guarantee hygiene standards. The Four Seasons in Shanghai said it would improve internal training.

The expose also led to heated discussion online as some argued the cleaning staff were not getting paid much for working in some of the most expensive hotels in the world.

“Luckily I cannot afford to stay in any of these hotels,” one man said in an online post responding to the video. 


Apple China says it will push software update in bid to resolve Qualcomm case

Updated 42 min 49 sec ago
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Apple China says it will push software update in bid to resolve Qualcomm case

  • Apple will carry out the software updates at the start of next week “to address any possible concern about our compliance with the order”
  • Qualcomm has said that a court in China found Apple infringed two patents held by the chipmaker and ordered an immediate ban on sales of older iPhone models

SHANGHAI/SAN FRANCISCO: Apple Inc. , facing a court ban in China on some of its iPhone models over alleged infringement of Qualcomm Inc. patents, said on Friday it will push software updates to users in a bid to resolve potential issues.
Apple will carry out the software updates at the start of next week “to address any possible concern about our compliance with the order,” the firm said in a statement sent to Reuters.
Earlier this week, Qualcomm said a Chinese court had ordered a ban on sales of some older Apple iPhone models for violating two of its patents, though intellectual property lawyers said the ban would still likely take time to enforce.
“Based on the iPhone models we offer today in China, we believe we are in compliance,” Apple said.
“Early next week we will deliver a software update for iPhone users in China addressing the minor functionality of the two patents at issue in the case.”
The case, brought by Qualcomm, is part of a global patent dispute between the two US companies that includes dozens of lawsuits. It creates uncertainty over Apple’s business in one of its biggest markets at a time when concerns over waning demand for new iPhones are battering its shares.
Qualcomm has said that the Fuzhou Intermediate People’s Court in China found Apple infringed two patents held by the chipmaker and ordered an immediate ban on sales of older iPhone models, from the 6S through the X.
Apple has said that all of its phone models remained on sale in mainland China and that it had filed a request for reconsideration with the court. All the models appeared to be available to buy on Apple’s China website on Friday.
Qualcomm, the biggest supplier of chips for mobile phones, filed its case in China in late 2017, arguing that Apple infringed patents on features related to resizing photographs and managing apps on a touch screen.