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Chinese carmaker BYD acts over ‘fake executive’ advertising deals

CHINESE carmaker BYD Company Limited said yesterday police were investigating a woman who it said had falsely claimed to work for BYD and who signed contracts for advertising on its behalf but had not paid the advertisers.

The company said it will talk with advertising agencies used by a woman named Li Juan, who is now in police custody.

“BYD welcomes face-to-face communication with relevant companies to discuss reasonable solutions,” the company said in a statement.

On Thursday, BYD said in a statement that Li Juan and several other people had posed as company executives and signed contracts using forged BYD seals.

The company said Li and others had rented office space in the Shanghai International Finance Center in Pudong New Area. She posed as the Shanghai BYD Electric Vehicle Co Ltd marketing department general manager.

But advertising agency Jingzhipr said Li and her team had been operating openly for three years. The compay said it had conducted outdoor advertising and organized test drives for BYD.

“BYD said someone offers free advertising activities and brand promotion worth a total of 1.1 billion yuan (US$16.4 million) and the carmaker denied awareness of such activities and brand promotion,” Jingzhipr said.

Yesterday, BYD denied Li or anyone associated with her worked for the auto company.

“As the injured party, BYD will, together with all parties, cooperate with the police to investigate and protect our legitimate rights and interests according to the law,” BYD said in a statement.

“Li Juan was suspected of committing a crime by faking the identity of staff of BYD and using a forged seal to sign contracts, which BYD has reported to the police,” the company said.

“The aforesaid actions of Li Juan harmed the interests of related parties and damaged greatly the reputation of BYD.

Jingzhipr said last night the company and other advertising firms are willing to discuss the matter with BYD.

Jingzhipr said it welcomed communication between the general manager of BYD’s purchasing department and Jingzhipr. Jingzhipr also said the company will protect its legitimate rights and interests according to the law.