Chinese medical treatment crowdfunding platform Shuidichou is under fire on Chinese social media after a viral video surfaced revealing the company’s aggressive tactics to promote its charity crowdfunding services in hospitals.

Why it matters: This is the second time this year for Shuidichou, a crowdfunding platform that focuses on donations for low-income patients seeking medical treatment, has sparked public criticism.

  • Shuidi first drew public ire in May for allowing Wu Shuai, a cross-talk celebrity performer, to launch a charity campaign after a brain hemorrhage.
  • China gave a total of RMB 112.8 billion (around $16 billion) in charitable donations in 2018, according to a report complied by the Institute of Society under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Details: An interview with an employees of Shuidichou’s offline promotion team posted anonymously on Pear Video quickly went viral this week.

  • An interviewee said in the video that the company dispatches employees to hospitals in more than 40 cities including Beijing, Wuhan, Changchun, and Nanjing, searching hospital wards for patients willing to open crowdfunding campaigns on the platform.
  • Another interviewee, who identified himself as a Shuidichou employee, says in the video that the firm will pay RMB 60 to RMB 100 for each campaign, adding that he earned RMB 14,000 in one month.
  • The same employee mentioned that they have to achieve a minimum of 35 deals per month. Those at the bottom of the performance list will be laid off.
  • The video invoked public outcry. “This is a hospital, not a place to make deals,” a hospital security guard says in the video.
  • The company founder and CEO Shen Peng extended an apology in a public letter posted on microblogging platform Weibo on Tuesday.
  • In another post on the company’s official account, the firm said that a preliminary investigation revealed that certain employees in specific regions had engaged in unethical behavior, and that the company is working to fix the problem by removing the performance-based bonus model and strengthening its monitoring system.
  • The company added that it formed an offline promotion team to reach senior citizens, and that it runs several rounds of checks on credentials for campaign applications.

“Too many deceptive donations will hurt goodwill. Don’t hurt the interests of people who really need help for your own sake” (our translation).

—Weibo user “Qiyuhongdou” on a comment under CCTV post about the news

Context: Established in 2016 by Shen who co-founded Meituan-Dianping’s food delivery business before starting his own project, Shuidi operates three platforms: mutual assistance platform Shuidihuzhu, crowdfunding app Shuidichou, and medical insurance platform Shuidibao.

  • The company raised nearly RMB 500 million in its Series B round from Tencent, Banyan Capital, and others in March.

Emma Lee

Emma Lee is Shanghai-based tech writer, covering startups and tech happenings in China and Asia in general. We are looking for stories related to tech and China. Reach her at lixin@technode.com.

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