Lunchtime Protest in Kwun Tong: Citizens Expressed Concerns Over The Soaring Number Of Dead Bodies And Suicide Cases

“Lunch With You” Protest was held in Tsun Yip Street Playground, Kwun Tong at 1 p.m. on January 16, with an aim to raise awareness on the soaring number of dead bodies and suicide cases in the last few months.

Image may contain: 1 person, outdoor

Lunchtime Protest in Kwun Tong: Citizens Expressed Concerns Over The Soaring Number Of Dead Bodies And Suicide Cases

“Lunch With You” Protest was held in Tsun Yip Street Playground, Kwun Tong at 1 p.m. on January 16, with an aim to raise awareness on the soaring number of dead bodies and suicide cases in the last few months.

Image may contain: 1 person, outdoor

Around 100 civilians particated in the protest, expressing concerns and doubt towards the “no suspicious circumstances” conclusion made by police on majority of the cases.

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor

Some paticpants held signs and chanted slogans such as “Hong Kong People Will Not Stop the Resistance Against Tyranny” and “See you at Chater Garden on Jan 19”. Particpating civlians left peacefully after the lunchtime protest.

Source: Flash Media Hong Kong
#Jan16 #KwunTong #Suicide #Death #HongKongProtest2020

Originally posted here on Facebook

What are the chances and possible consequences of democratisation in China?

None, because the strongest forces outside the ruling clique are a cult, nationalists, and Maoists. If they do make a democracy, it will be a democracy in name only with 1-2 parties that are made up of ex CCP officials.

The following is a list of potential rivals to the current leadership:

None, because the strongest forces outside the ruling clique are a cult, nationalists, and Maoists. If they do make a democracy, it will be a democracy in name only with 1-2 parties that are made up of ex CCP officials.

The following is a list of potential rivals to the current leadership:

Category 1: Significant Forces

Falun Dafa – Formerly China’s largest religion, Falun Dafa in exile is the the most vocal and well funded Chinse opposition group. Most of the movement’s 100 million followers were middle aged women, but the movement since the crackdown has been led by wealthy and well-educated exiles, who have funded a vast empire of opposition activities. Falun Dafa’s projects include two written mouthpieces: minghui and epoch times, TV network New Tang Dynasty, the Shen Yun cultural festival (which ends with a depiction of a typhoon destroying Shanghai), and English language propaganda outlet China Uncensored. Falun Gong also runs Tuidang yundong, a volunteer effort which does mail and phone campaigns in China to encourage CCP members to resign their membership. Their claimed “body count” is larger than the total number of CCP members. In the late 1990s, Falun Gong posed a potential (but unrealized) threat to the Chinese government, as it claimed over 100 million members on the mainland in good authority and organized Tiananmen-style marches against the CCP. The religion was severely suppressed by the Jiang Zemin administration, and today its adherents in mainland China most likely number in the hundreds of thousands.

Key to the success of the suppression campaign was a 2001 self-immolation incident, which Falun Dafa stated was staged. Western observers were quick to point out the incongruities in the incident (including the presence of firefighters just yards away from where the incident took place, ready to put out the flames). The CCP has since done interviews with one of the perpetrators to try to counteract this narrative. At the time, the self-immolation incident painted Falun Gong practitioners as insane, and created a social stigma towards the religion that aided its persecution.

While well-funded and well-organized, Falun Gong is seen in the same light by Chinese as Westerners see Scientology, as its Tuidang campaign is widely parodied on Chinese social media.

Maoists – Probably the most serious threat to the Xi regime today, and one of the few forces that is still regularly demonstrating. The purge of Maoists is ongoing but has been more subtle than crackdowns against other forces, because there is sympathy for Mao within the government, and especially within the senior ranks of the PLA. High-ranking Maoists inside the PLA include Major General Li Shenming, who contradicted the CCP’s official history by denying that the Great Leap Forward led to human deaths (on the CCP’s own website, mind you), and Mao’s grandson, Mao Xinyu. While retaining their rank within the PLA, both men were removed from important posts early in the Xi administration. Still, sympathy for Maoism within the government means that Maoist agitators like Yuan Yuhua continue to give speeches at universities. The government has vaccilated on the main Maoist agitation/news outlet, Maoqi Network. The site was banned and unbanned several times before finally being unbanned in 2017.

Perhaps the most famous Chinese Maoist in the West was Bo Xilai, party secretary of Chengdu. Bo made waves in Western and Chinese media as the first high-profile corruption case prosecuted by the Xi administration. Western outlets suspected that his prosecution was in response to his public campaign for a position on the Standing Committee, China’s highest governing body. Public campaigning to influence CCP promotions is a taboo within the Communist Party, and Bo’s neo-Maoist movement was dismantled as a result. However, his supporters and subordinates reorganized into the “Zhixiandang”, a Chongqing Maoist party, but it was banned later that year. Low-level protests continued, reportedly until 2017.

Maoism in China is divided into several segments. In 1989, Tiananmen leader Chen Ziming said that Maoists were divided into two categories: those with fond memories of Mao, and those who thought Mao was still relevant. This is still true today. Most Chinese are at least partially in the first category, especially rural people, the elderly, and those who feel left out of the country’s development. While the party has grown internally critical of Mao, he is still widely praised in popular media.

The second category are the left wing of the CCP, whose fortunes have waxed and waned, but who still constitute a force. After Mao’s death in 1976, the left wing “Gang of Four”, led by his wife, was purged by Hua Guofeng and Deng Xiaoping. However, a remnant of this faction survived, led by future premier Li Peng. During the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, the left within the CCP recovered their prominence after the right, led by Zhao Ziyang, failed to contain the protests with an appeasement approach. Li convinced Deng Xiaoping to purge the right, crack down on the protests, and restore state control over the economy. After Li’s retirement, the left-CCP was led by Luo Gan. Much of the left has been purged by Xi after his takeover, but some officials survive.

Besides Zhixiandang, there have been other short-lived attempts to organize a Maoist party separate from the CCP. One party attracted media attention in 2009, but was last reported about in 2012.

Nationalists – By far the most potent faction today. While Maoism is popular among the PLA’s generals, ultranationalism runs strong among the junior officers, who routinely (and very publicly) brainstorm ways to destroy the US and conquer Asia. The most outspoken member of this group is Colonel Dai Xu, who founded his own think tank dedicated to sinking the US navy, and writes a column devoted to rallying his countrymen against America and China’s regional enemies. In case this wasn’t enough, he also has a blog. He still holds his rank in the armed forces while doing all this, mind you, and is a senior lecturer at the PLA war college.

Also prominent in this group is Colonel Liu Mingfu, who has written a number of books about China’s prospects to create a new world order, based on “superior cultural genes”. The “hawks”, as they’re called in China, appear to be Xi’s favored faction of the PLA. Xi has adopted a number of their recommendations for the modernization of the PLA, and appointed Wei Fenghe, a missile commander connected to the group, as defense minister last year. While generally outranked by the Maoist old guard in the senior ranks, the nationalists have the upper hand because their seniors have largely been kicked upstairs since 2013-15.

Nationalism is extremely popular among ordinary Chinese, so much so that one could say China’s dominant ideology is not Communism, but nationalism. The nine dash line is the single most popular WeChat avatar, and the CCP frequently tries to calm down grassroots nationalist responses, such as the boycott on Japanese goods and the public’s response to the Xinjiang question. In other cases, the regime mobilizes nationalism for its own benefit. Despite this, there is no nationalist popular organizations like there are for Maoists, meaning the nationalist faction, for the time being, is strictly a military one.

Category 2: Illegal Cults

Illegal religions in China are those not controlled or registered under state associations. Since 2003, they have been persecuted by the 610 Office, which was originally dedicated only to Falun Gong. Cults have been a major source of rebellion throughout Chinese history, and the CCP’s current policy of suppressing any religion that gets too large is a mirror of Imperial policy. This in turn makes cult members criminals in the eyes of the central government, and makes them easy to stir to rebellion.

Spirit Sect – Founded in 1986 by a man named Hua Xue, this Christian sect has attracted a following among rural peasantry in Shandong. Hua was sentenced to forced labor in 1990 for “hooliganism”, but his cult persisted and several members were put on trial in 2014.

Disciple Society – Influenced by the suppressed “Jesus Family”, Disciple Society was founded in 1989 by Ji Sanbao, and preached that prayers and faith could increase the grain harvest. The cult’s third leader, Chen Shirong, was jailed, but the cult retains a membership potentially in the hundreds of thousands, and made headlines in 2014 with a suicide controversy.

Three Grades of Servants – A cult at one point retaining hundreds of thousands of members, whose existence today is questionable. In 2018, the government convicted Yunnan peasants allegedly part of this organization, but this was disputed by cult watchers. In the 2000s, the organization was involved in assassinations against its rival, Eastern Lightning.

Eastern Lightning – Probably the largest illegal cult in China besides Falun Dafa, Eastern Lightning is a considerable force with 4 million members. The organization has “defeated” a number of smaller cults and occupies a prominent position in sections of rural China. It runs a very amusing youtube channel and has been implicated in murders.

Category 3: Insignificant/Defunct Forces

Guo Wengui – A billionaire who escaped to his Manhattan loft and claimed to have inside knowledge of the CCP’s corruption. His documents have since been discredited. The CCP evidently doesn’t consider him much of a threat, since their response has been muted. Apparently, he was still running his company through local proxies in 2018, and probably still is to this day. A pretty cool guy in person though.

Weiquan – While not really a political faction or movement, weiquan are the Chinese equivalent of cause lawyers, offering free legal counsel to people who have been persecuted by the government. In 2016, several were arrested in a limited crackdown.

New Citizen’s Movement – A grassroots organization which staged small protests in China in the early 2010s, based largely on the work of Xu Zhiyong. The movement spread its literature through social media, but was largely destroyed by crackdown in 2013-14.

Democracy Party of China – A movement founded by Tiananmen activists based out of New York City. Until relatively recently, it was running “infiltration campaigns”, which were essentially mail campaigns into China to undermine the CCP. The last campaign was photographed on their website, dated to 2014. It is still holding rallies in the US, the most recent of which was last month.

New Democracy Party of China – A short lived party, founded by a human rights activist. He was arrested in 2008, and the site went defunct the year after.

Category 4: Imaginary Forces

“Princelings” and “Tuanpai” – An outdated and over-simplistic view of CCP internal politics that has since fallen out of favor. When Xi took over, many commentators hypothesized that there were two factions, “Princelings” and the Tuanpai, or “Youth League” faction, who came from different backgrounds (party families vs. peasant/worker families) and existed in different patronage networks. This view has since been contradicted by Xi’s behavior. In the “first round” of Xi’s purges, officials of commoner background were the main victims, but afterr 2016, he enlisted commoners to purge fellow princelings. The “princeling” faction was never that united to begin with, and it has now become clear that Xi intended from the beginning to eliminate people on both “sides”.

“Jiang faction” and “Hu faction” – Another over-simplistic view of the CCP – at the start of Xi’s first purge, some observers believed he was getting rid of the allies of Jiang and Hu. There is some truth in this – many of Jiang’s old allies, like former security chief Zhou Yankang, were removed, but others were incorporated. Hu Jintao’s protege, Li Keqiang, has become Xi’s long-time right hand man. Just like the princelings and tuanpai, these factions were probably never that coherent to begin with.

“CCP Plasticity”

The CCP does not seem to have “factions” in the traditional sense (groups following a leader), but instead has loose conglomerations of people with the same ideas. While details about the CCP’s current deliberations are obscure, we have a lot of information about CCP infighting in the 70s and 80s, dealing with the post-Mao crises and Tiananmen Square, and in 2012 dealing with the Bo Xilai crisis. All the evidence points to the CCP being an “every man for himself” environment, where the leader calls meetings of the Standing Committee to decide major issues, and everyone bickers and tries to assert their own viewpoint. The arguments about China’s growth trajectory in the 70s and 80s led to Hua Guofeng’s retirement and Deng Xiaoping’s instatement as Paramount Leader. The Tiananmen crisis led to Zhao Ziyang briefly convincing Deng and the Standing Committee on his appeasement approach, before Li Peng convinced them it wasn’t working. In the purge of Bo Xilai, the entire Standing Committee met to discuss the issue, and came to an agreement that Bo should be purged. The CCP pursues no consistent policy besides what the group decides, which depends on the persuasiveness of each individual and how the crisis shapes in favor of one position or the other. The “plasticity” of the CCP is key to understanding its response to any potential crisis.


So with this in mind, how could the CCP be overthrown, and by whom? There are a couple possibilities.

  1. Revolution: The most hoped for outcome in the West is that the CCP will be completely overthrown after an economic downturn or major scandal. The security apparatus is very strong and good at crackdowns, as shown by the numerous links in this post and by the crackdown against Falun Gong in the 2000s, so I’d rule this one out. If the CCP is overthrown, there will need to be people on the inside who are okay with it – in other words, a coup.
  2. Nationalist Coup: A far more likely scenario. An economic downturn or scandal leads to protests. The military nationalists decide to dispense with the overbearing party, which is “lacking in ambition and vision”. To gain approval from the protesters and achieve their goal of reunification with Taiwan, they declare a “democracy” before forming a conservative ruling party equivalent to the Japanese LDP.
  3. Maoist Coup: Less likely now than six years ago due to the sidelining of many of the Maoist generals. In this scenario, the senior officers move faster than the “hawks” and force the Politburo to elect a new Standing Committee consisting of the left-CCP, triggering a hardline phase in China’s development.
  4. Reform: Far more likely than revolution, there is a chance that, when faced with protests in response to a major shock, the Standing Committee authorizes limited elections. This is less likely than 2 and 3 simply because the CCP’s policy is to suppress dissent, “learning from the lessons of the USSR”. I’ve written more about this here. If this happens, it will most likely spiral out of control as in Eastern Europe and lead to #2.
  5. Revolt: The most likely scenario overall, and not a hopeful one. In the face of a shock, certain illegal cults and isolated opposition groups take matters into their own hands and start an armed rebellion in the poorer parts of China. Ever-hopeful international rivals try to support these rebellions, but ultimately they go nowhere.

What would a democratic China look like?

The most potent forces in the public consciousness today are Maoism and Nationalism. The “mainstream” CCP today is a compromise between these two lines of thought, which has produced a capitalist middle ground that people “consent” to because it’s working so far. A Chinese democracy would be the same thing, just polarized. There would be a Maoist Party, appealing to people who feel left behind in the New China, and a Nationalist Party, appealing to the elite, who would trade majorities with each other. They would broadly agree on a much more aggressive foreign policy than what the CCP, motivated mainly by economic interests, is pursuing now.

Because everyone with any kind of government experience is or was a CCP member, the parties would be led by largely the same people who are running the CCP today. Just, instead of using the “collective decision making process” I described in the section about CCP plasticity, they’d form 2 distinct factions – leftist and rightist – and fight their battles in public.

Originally posted here on Reddit

I Survived a Toxic Office

It’s been nearly 3 years since I left a toxic office environment at large Hong Kong corporation and preparing to start new work after months of interviewing and upskilling.

Looking back at my time there, the office was really questionable given the circumstances I was brought in, the day-to-day challenges, and the way they treated me as I left the offices.

The company had an intense clique mentality. Nearly every department had their own cliques and subgroups and these groups had a tendency of not being inclusive. It was already a challenge getting to work with the more local colleagues but the fact my former managers tolerated or enabled cliques made the work situation unpleasant. These colleagues would go to lunch without me, not even have the decency to ask if I was interested in something out of courtesy, and really disliked speaking English despite being a multinational office. I wound up getting along with the non-local staff and those who are not into office politics as a result.

Their HR (People Team) does not pretend to even care about employee well-being. Whenever, there is an issue related to cliques or unpleasantness, the HR would pretend to schedule a meeting to discuss then not show up without any real reason. Any attempt to address concerns about reduction of job scope would be met with “oh jobs always evolve at the company”. During my last day at the office, they made it clear that the company has no separate company culture and everything is THE PARENT COMPANY WAY, meaning company comes first. This lack of proper HR is really no surprise seeing that disgruntled employees or fans created a Secrets page to anonymously discuss company or employee issues.

The office doesn’t even practice what it preaches. The current CEO of the company loves to bang on about “stakeholder-centricity, tolerable risk, and bias towards action”. In reality, the company culture is basically the same as the Parent Company, which is risk-averse, bureaucratic, and loves the status quo. The office HR was proud to point out everything in the company runs the PARENT COMPANY WAY. If that was not an issue, there is also the fact that my former manager was hired without HR involvement. First he received a phone call from his friend, the current head of marketing, to go for an interview. Then, he and the market head go out for drinks with the CEO and later have an actual office interview just for show.

Another problem at the the company office is that the CEO is too busy doing public appearances instead of doing his job at the office. While the CEO loves the media attention advocating design thinking and the stakeholder-mindset, in reality none of the things he talks about can be implemented in the office as planned due to the company culture being dictated by The Parent Company and because of his limited involvement at work. It would not surprise me that he will leave the company once the hyped website and mobile app revamp is completed.

Other problems I’ve noticed in the office to list are:

-Lack of close colleagues with them making excuses to not connect on Facebook/Social Media
-Random favouritism with my former manager giving more time to the younger female colleagues while being disrespectful to me
-Fake professionals claiming to stay in contact and then lash out with calls to “just move on” when contacted for advice
-Employees that are either extremely loyal to the company or extremely disgruntled with nothing in between
-Managers actually trying to undermine other projects because they didn’t think of the idea first
-De facto segregation with some departments populated by foreigners and others purely HK locals.
-Giving an employee a pay rise and bonus one year then accusing them of being godawful with threats to the job the following year.
– Weak-minded or desperate jobseekers willing to end friendships or blindly side with The Company for the sake of extra money.

Looking back, it was an OK move to leave that office. I am still recovering from the effects of working in a toxic office and all that job nonsense. Planning on relaxing before starting my new job later this quarter.

Cathay Pacific’s Decline

Once upon a time the people of Hong Kong were proud of the airline they thought of as their own, Cathay Pacific. When you boarded the green and white aircraft with the attractive stewardesses in Manila or Bangkok you felt you were already at home. Then along came the accountants. They chopped everything. Economy class […]

via Cathay Pacific losses of $2.05 billion: What went wrong at a once great airline? — Sai Kung Buzz

Galton Voysey – Frequently Asked Questions – FAQ

In response to the growing interest in the previous post about Galton Voysey and Dealdash.com, I felt it would be a good follow-up to help readers learn more about the company given the limited information on their actual About Us page.

In response to the growing interest in the previous post about Galton Voysey and DealDash, I felt it would be a good follow-up to help readers learn more about the company given the limited information on their actual About Us page.

When was Galton Voysey Founded?

Galton Voysey was founded in 2014 by CEO Marine Aubrée Antikainen backed by William Wolfram, Founder & CEO of DealDash and Chairman of Galton Voysey.

What is the difference between Galton Voysey and DealDash?

DealDash offers shoppers the most fun & exciting way to save up to 90% off their favorite brands. Unlike ordinary penny auctions, DealDash’s model allows bidders who didn’t win the auction to buy the item for its regular price and get a full refund of all the bid credits. Galton Voysey brings outstanding brands to a market of discerning, quality conscious shoppers. Between building, acquiring and advising brands across a wide range of products categories, Galton Voysey has become home to 28 iconic labels. Products from Galton Voysey’s 28 leading brands are regularly featured on DealDash.

Who is the head of Galton Voysey?

William Wolfram is the Chairman and Marine Aubrée Antikainen is Chief Executive Officer of Galton Voysey.

How many employees work for Galton Voysey?

Galton Voysey employs over 200 people in total. Their headquarters is in Hong Kong, but they also have offices located in cities like Helsinki, Tokyo, Paris and New York.

What is Galton Voysey’s primary business?

Galton Voysey acquires and develops timeless brands leveraging the power of social media and data. The company has a portfolio of 28 brands. The brands house a wide range of product categories, the largest being chef’s knives, jewelry, leather goods and handcrafted rustic furniture.

What is the mailing address and phone number of Galton Voysey’s world headquarters?

Galton Voysey
Unit C 27/F & Unit A 17/F
Grandion Plaza
932 Cheung Sha Wan Road
Kowloon, HK

+852 6573 6334

Is Galton Voysey a Scam?

No, Galton Voysey is a legitimate company producing a variety of products sold on their brand website, on Amazon.com, and on Dealdash.com.  The company also has a strong and positive employee culture as noted on Glassdoor.com.

The Truth about Working at Cathay Pacific – Cabin Crew

Originally posted at CX Secrets. Edited for clarity.

Your Reasons for staying with Cathay Pacific – Cabin Crew

I would like to mention a few things that maybe many people never really thought about when they are working at CX (Cathay Pacific).

#1 Reminder: You are Working for Someone Else.

#1 Reminder: You are working for someone else. You are not your own boss at anything as long as you’re bound to him/her.

There is no such thing as “the ‘company’ changed this” or “the ‘company’ changed the policy”. We have to understand and avoid using “COMPANY” and “CX” because we cannot define it as a “group” and must understand that any decision is made by a single person.

What is your reason to stay with Cathay Pacific?

Ever ask yourself what is your reason to stay with Cathay Pacific?

Let’s break it down and review these details one at a time.

“I’m in it solely for the travel benefits”

Let’s define the company definition of “travel benefit”. We can all agree that discounted ticket prices are a major plus when compared to a normal passenger paying “full fare” for a ticket. However, we need to look at this in a more selective way.

As a Cathay Pacific cabin crew, the ticket price is reduced but the trade-off is the ticket is only available on “standby”. Being on standby defeats the purpose of a discounted ticket and therefore makes the travel benefit largely useless. Although getting a seat on a single flight with travel benefit is somewhat likely, it still will not be confirmed until the last-minute.

A good example to compare the standby ticket is when you see something you really want online for a very cheap price. Then, you add it to your online shopping cart only to find out that is “Out of Stock” on the checkout page at the very last-minute because you do not have any actual knowledge of its availability.

If you only desire “travel benefit”, then Cathay Pacific may not be for you. If you are wealthy, average income, or even below average income, you shouldn’t allow this “travel benefit” to lure you into joining Cathay Pacific cabin crew for the long run.

“I want to travel and see the world!”

Yes, we all want to travel and see the world! However, do not become a Cathay Pacific cabin crew as a way to do this. If you truly want to travel the world, buy full fare tickets, skip the standby tickets, don’t waste your time in the air, and stay grounded instead.

“I have a family or other expenses to take care of and need to stay in this job”

Sorry, but you are about to run out of luck with Cathay Pacific. Would you say Cathay Pacific started out as a solopreneur (a business owner who works and runs his or her business alone) or as an entrepreneur (a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit)? If money important in your daily life, then please try to do something else besides working in CX.

Cathay Pacific does not pay you well and will not pay you any better as the years go by unless the law changes. We hear that “competition is tough”, but Cathay Pacific always has a positive profit (profit does not mean losing money).

However, a new set of estimated earnings or growth rate is set at a higher rate every year, which always leads to a “loss” when really the numbers are just a goal. I encourage all you Cathay Pacific employees to leave CX especially if you have a family because this is not the job for you if you have that kind of responsibility. Find something else, don’t be afraid that it’s too late. If you need help, just ask, but don’t stay silent.

“CX is my dream airline to work for”

No, it’s not. LOL

Cathay Pacific Airways posted a net loss of HK$2.05 billion for the first half of this year, compared with a net profit of HK$353 million in the same period in 2016.
Cathay Pacific Airways posted a net loss of HK$2.05 billion for the first half of this year, compared with a net profit of HK$353 million in the same period in 2016.

“I like to be in the service industry and what better way to do it than in the air!”

It’s true that it’s pretty cool to gain the title of “Cabin Crew” or “Flight Attendant”, but let’s be honest here, depending on your reason, there are way too many other service industry jobs to do besides being an airline cabin crew.

Lately, there have been many discussions about Hong Kong cabin crews facing the problem with “retirement age” limitations. I just want to say vote for whatever proposals raises the highest retirement age.

The company newsletter says there will be a big “reduction in promotion” if the retirement age is raised. However, you are not going to receive a promotion anyways regardless of whether the retirement age is raised or unchanged, so just vote to raise the maximum retirement age.

Your service to Cathay Pacific

Your service to Cathay Pacific should not exceed anything between 1 day to 20 years. We can agree that most of the cabin crews are female. It has been said that girls are generally the “softer” part of the two main genders and I want to remind all female crew to take care of yourselves and never allow Cathay Pacific to interfere with your health.

The sky is beautiful but unless you are cockpit crew, you don’t even really get to enjoy any views and being in an aircraft all the time will both physically and mentally stress you out.

The average human lifespan is around 70-85 years. If you spend more than 20 years with Cathay Pacific, then you are literally reducing your lifespan by 25-30%+ from doing this job and it really is not worth it if you think about it.

Don’t serve others, be your own boss and make a dent in society.
-Sprites”

Galton Voysey & DealDash.com – A Conflict of Interest

A recent lawsuit accused DealDash.com of the following:

*The lawsuit claims that expensive, supposedly high-end products, produced by Galton Voysey, auctioned off on DealDash are not what they seem.
*Several of these brands, such as Bolvaint, Kamikoto, Aava, appear to only be available on DealDash, the brand’s website or on Amazon directly from the brand.
*Most of the brands’ websites are registered in the same way to hide their actual ownership.
*Trademark applications for these brands lists DealDash founder William Wolfram as the chairman of Galton Voysey, the company registering the marks.
*The plaintiff alleges this is all a ruse to sell auction bids for overpriced products supplied by DealDash’s founder

I first learned about Galton Voysey from a recent Consumerist article claiming they are simply producing premium or luxury products primarily for use on DealDash.com.

Barrel Shack. Verdict, Aava, Schultz, Kamikoto are some notable Galton Voysey brands featured on DealDash.com
Barrel Shack. Verdict, Aava, Schultz, Kamikoto are some notable Galton Voysey brands featured on DealDash

The article goes on to describe a lawsuit accusing DealDash.com of the following:

  • The lawsuit claims that expensive, supposedly high-end products, produced by Galton Voysey, auctioned off on DealDash are not what they seem.
  • Several of these brands, such as Bolvaint, Kamikoto, Aava, appear to only be available on DealDash, the brand’s website or on Amazon directly from the brand.
  • Most of the brands’ websites are registered in the same way to hide their actual ownership.
  • Trademark applications for these brands lists DealDash founder William Wolfram as the chairman of Galton Voysey, the company registering the marks.
  • The plaintiff alleges this is all a ruse to sell auction bids for overpriced products supplied by DealDash’s founder

Galton Voysey Background

According to their website:

Galton Voysey is a platform for building, buying and developing consumer product brands. We are home to 28 iconic brands that we have developed or acquired, and extend our professional expertise to a portfolio of global brands. We believe it makes more sense to test early to validate ideas that work and ones that don’t. This gives our operation and design teams a way to experiment with something tangible, gain experience in the process and reapply their learnings in the next iteration. With a proven network of over 140 factories, Galton Voysey builds brands across a broad range of consumer, lifestyle and home goods segments across Europe, US and the world.

Sounds like a normal private company developing and selling private label goods online leveraging manufacturing resources in the Asia-Pacific region with a startup mentality.

However, what is interesting is the background and the involvement of William Wolfram, the owner of DealDash.com and principle investor of Galton Voysey according to InsideRetail Hong Kong:

As it marks its third anniversary, Hong Kong-headquartered online luxury goods retailer Galton Voysey is recruiting more staff and expanding its presence in Mainland China.

Galton Voysey was founded by 28-year-old French woman Marine Aubrée Antikainen and its biggest investor is William Wolfram, 24, who believed the biggest brands of the next 50 years have not yet been built…

…Galton Voysey believes it is disrupting the global luxury goods market with new and fresh thinking, in many cases helping brands go direct from factory to consumer through their own brand websites.

According to LinkedIn, Marine Antikainen is listed as a co-founder while William Wolfram is both chairman and investor of Galton Voysey.  Oddly enough, William Wolfram is not listed on the website and the majority of Galton’s partners are mostly law firms.  These are the other companies listed as partners

  • The Loft Studio, – The Loft Studio does not cite Galton Voysey or its brands as clients.  However, it is likely this company produced the photos seen on the company website and for its brands under NDAs.
  • Vistra – Vistra is a company providing “tailored trust, fiduciary, fund and corporate services”. It is likely they are supporting Galton with various offshore financing and related services.
  • A private investigation company with a magnifying glass and letters “AI” as its brand logo.

The rest of the website is somewhat vague on their actual work aside from a sizzle reel about the office culture and a press release announcing the company’s third year of existence.

Galton Voysey Brands & DealDash.com

According to the US Patent and Trademark Office, Galton Voysey filed trademarks for its brands: Schultz, Wilson & Miller, Verdict, New Haven, The Barrel Shack, Kamikoto in 2016.  However, Galton brands such as Bolvaint was trademarked by IPIF Limited, which was formed last July, while brands such as Ashlynn Avenue, Aava, Cate & Chloe, Bardenshire do not appear to have any trademarks.

According to TINA.org:

DealDash.com positively describes and endorses products that are auctioned on its
website. Some of these products are sold by companies that DealDash founder William Wolfram is the Chairman of, a fact that is not disclosed to consumers in any DealDash marketing materials. For example, during any 24-hour period, at least 40% of DealDash auctions are for products made and sold by:

Galton Voysey brands Schultz, Kamikoto, The Barrel Shack

Galton Voysey Brands Verdict and New Haven

Galton Voysey brads Bolvaint, Ashlynn Avenue, Wilson & Miller

There is a clear conflict of interest when a major investor and chairman of Galton Voysey is also selling the company’s brands on DealDash.com, which is also owned by the same person.  It is even more questionable when this strong connection is not disclosed to the public.

The Brands Examined

While the brands appear to have quality products when examined at face value, things are not what they seem.  Galton Voysey’s marketing team and growth hackers have done a great job promoting these brands with a combination of paid Facebook likes, reviews by vloggers and blogs that are either paid or provided based on free products, compelling brand videos, and standard SEO.

Although these brands appear to be private label brands one would expect to find online or at a premium retailer such as Macy’s, the pricing strategy for the various products suggests they should be treated as premium or luxury items, despite the relatively new brand development and limited brand history.   What is even more interesting is that these brand have products that have pages of positive reviews without really describing much about the products.

I’ve had three major Galton Voysey brands, Kamikoto, Bolvaint, and The Barrel Shack, submitted to FakeSpot.com, which scans for unreliable or fake product reviews.  Below are the general results:

http://fakespot.com/company/kamikoto

Fakespot has analyzed 6 products and 267 reviews for Kamikoto products.The Fakespot algorithm considers 60.0% of those reviews to be unreliable.

The Fakespot grade is based on reviews of products listed on Amazon with Kamikoto as the company name.

http://fakespot.com/company/bolvaint

Fakespot has analyzed 5 products and 21 reviews forBolvaint products.The Fakespot algorithm considers 20.0% of those reviews to be unreliable.

The Fakespot grade is based on reviews of products listed on Amazon with Bolvaint as the company name.

http://fakespot.com/company/the-barrel-shack

Fakespot has analyzed 8 products and 148 reviews forThe Barrel Shack products.The Fakespot algorithm considers 60.0%of those reviews to be unreliable.

The Fakespot grade is based on reviews of products listed on Amazon with The Barrel Shack as the company name.

When reviewing the websites, it appears nearly all the Galton Voysey brands have the same website layout from Shopify and relatively limited contact information.  The Bolvaint website claims to have an office that is occupied by Patek Phillipe, while the Kamikoto brand doesn’t have a Japanese website, its return address is in a residential area, the brand site is hosted in the USA, and apparently the knives are made in China (which is unheard of for artisanal Japanese knives).  The lack of real information behind the brands and brand history is a recurring pattern among the Galton Voysey brands.

Conclusion

While Galton Voysey initially appears to be a private company developing and selling private label brands, it is merely a tool for DealDash.com to promote overpriced products to unsuspecting customers.  The fact that William Wolfram is involved in both companies without full disclosure, the limited information available for Galton Voysey, the strange trademarking process for the Galton brands, and irregular product reviews make the entire arrangement extremely questionable if not an outright scam.

Despite some glowing reviews by unsuspecting vloggers and blogs, none of the brands promoted by Galton Voysey can actually justify their prices due to their lack of history, actual reputation, or product quality in certain cases.  I would have no issues with their brands if they were actually being produced and sold as private label brands to leading retailers as implied in their mission statement and official interviews.  However, the reality is that they are primarily pushed through DealDash.com at inflated prices and placed on Amazon.com and their own brand websites to create the perception they are actual products.

For more details on the lawsuit – see https://consumermediallc.files.wordpress.com/2017/04/dealdash.pdf

For latest updates from TruthinAdvertising.org – see https://www.truthinadvertising.org/dealdash-status-updates/