In "China's Tobacco Wars" (Jan/Feb 1992), Judith Mackay notes that Western tobacco companies successfully market and promote cigarettes in China despite that country's anti- tobacco laws and advertising restrictions.
Having visited China last year, I would like to highlight the way the Asian subsidiary of Philip Morris circumvents Chinese regulations in order to establish a brand presence for Marlboro cigarettes.
As Dr. Mackay notes, in China, all brands of cigarettes, domestic and foreign, are prohibited from advertising in the print and broadcast media. Only hotels and large department stores catering to foreigners are licensed to sell imported brands. However, in the local markets that I visited in Canton and Sian, cigarette vendors hawked smuggled foreign brands from small stalls and three-wheel carts. It was not unusual for me to be approached by Chinese who wanted ["mah-blow"] Marlboro cigarettes.
According to a September 2, 1991 report in Hong Kong's South China Morning Post, Marlboro succeeds in promoting its name in China mainly by sponsoring high- profile sporting events such as the Marlboro Championships æ91 tennis tournament. As a result, Marlboro has secured a growing share of cigarette sales on China's vast black market.
As one specialist on Asian marketing told the South China Morning Post, "They [Philip Morris] are supporting a brand for which the only real source is smuggled goods. They are developing a demand that cannot be satisfied through legal sales."
New York City
To the editor:
I read with interest your editorial, "GM's Crash." I worked at GM Van Nuys for fifteen years. I took a cash "buy out" in 1991. Jerry Tucker is right, the UAW did not fight "whipsawing" between the Van Nuys, CA plant and the Norwood, OH plant. In fact, they encouraged it. In 1987, "team concept" came to GM, Van Nuys. Most of the concessions GM is asking others for now, they got from us then. It did not "save" the Van Nuys plant. It is closing this summer. All this talk of a new labor management relationship to increase "competitiveness," is just a strategy to make union leadership an appendage of the "coordinator class." Rank and file resistance to this plan is growing and is our only hope. Progressives and community activists should not hesitate to join in coalition with the rank and file to fight plant closings and concessions, even when the union "leadership" won't. The high-flying rhetoric, of Owen Beiber, et al., should be taken with a "pound" of salt. Watch deeds not words. For more information on the Van Nuys plant, contact:
Labor/Community Strategy Center
Campaign to Keep Van Nuys Open!
6454 Van Nuys Blvd., Suite 150
Van Nuys, CA 91401
Lake Oswego, OR