HONG KONG, July 10 - Chinese tech giant Tencentsaid it has made peace with the country's best-knownchilli oil maker Lao Gan Ma, after an advertising scam thatbewildered many and generated a public relations nightmare. After thorough communication with Lao Gan Ma - whichtranslates as "old godmother" - the two sides have cleared upany misunderstanding and Tencent has apologised forinconvenience and improper handling of the situation, a jointstatement on Chinese blogging website Weibo said on Friday. A Shenzhen court last week said it would freeze 16.24million yuan ($2.3 million) in assets belonging to Lao Gan Ma atthe request of Tencent Holdings Ltd (0700.HK), which had suedthe manufacturer for failing to pay advertising fees under a2019 contract. Police in the southern city of Guiyang later said they hadarrested three people accused of forging Lao Gan Ma's companyseal - used in China to formalise documents - and pretending tobe staff from the firm's marketing department who signed acooperation agreement with Tencent. The incident drew nationwide attention as netizens poked funat the idea Tencent's elaborate video game and esports-relatedcampaigns had served to promote a chilli maker. Tencent said in the statement it has retracted its courtapplication for property preservation and related litigation,and thanked local police for busting the alleged fraudsters. The two sides would explore formal cooperation, thestatement said, without giving details. Tencent, China's biggest social media and video gamecompany, is under pressure to maintain high growth of itsadvertising business as it seeks to weather the disruptioncaused by the COVID-19 pandemic. REUTERS
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