According to the Global Times, a number of foreign brands, including Versace, Koch and Givenchy, have recently been exposed by netizens to equate Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan with countries in their products or websites. Every exposure has aroused the indignation of netizens, and the celebrities who endorse the brands in China have for the first time expressed their intention to discontinue their cooperation with those brands. The brands then apologized without exception.
Last year, there was a round of online public criticism that foreign brands listed Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan as countries. That round of criticism did a great deal to pay attention to this issue and respect the popular feelings of the Chinese public. But the recent situation shows that this is more or less a stubborn illness, and the relevant cleaning is difficult to accomplish.
This is not particularly true of Chinese netizens. We believe that the confusion of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan with the state is a habitual continuation of incorrect labeling, because some companies or their employees are intentional or unintentional and fail to correct it in time due to insufficient attention. Chinese netizens are very concerned about and insist that foreign companies should correctly label Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan for the following reasons.
Firstly, it is necessary to mark correctly. Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan are all part of China, which is the common sense of international politics. Their economic self-sufficiency should not be confused with the fact that they can be juxtaposed with China. This distinction should have existed. Sooner or later, the pull will happen. In fact, the Chinese Internet has played a role in accelerating this process.
Secondly, an important reason why this problem has been particularly prominent in recent years is that the Taiwan Independence forces are becoming more and more arrogant, making mainland Chinese netizens more sensitive and alert. The efforts of mainland netizens have further squeezed Taiwans sense of existence in the international business community, but this is what the DPP authorities in Taiwan provoked, and it belongs to them. The emergence of the latest round of exposure is largely brought about by the situation in Hong Kong. Foreign brands that label Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan as countries have been investigated as an outlet for mainland netizens to express patriotism.
Thirdly, similar frictions are not just the labeling of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan. In fact, in recent years, more political instability and cracks have emerged worldwide. The overall tension between China and the United States has led to strategic changes in international politics and many direct or indirect effects. With the increasing number of breakpoints in globalization, many multinational and cross-regional companies will face more challenges. In the future, they will face more demands for political correctness between countries and regions, and sometimes make choices. This trend will continue to strengthen.
Fourthly, in small economies like Taiwan, desalination of politics should be their lifeline. They engage in politics and flaunt their sovereignty, which is tantamount to digging graves for their own economic development. Undoubtedly, if Fan Sizhe or Comchi are forced to choose one or the other, they will choose the mainland market and abandon the Taiwan market.
Since there is a trend that the markets of various countries and regions are becoming more and more sensitive to political factors, major international companies should take a serious attitude towards the standardization of labeling in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, and try not to make mistakes. In case of any mistake, the most important thing is to take a proper attitude, apologize and correct it in time, do not further offend Chinese consumers, and avoid repeating the mistakes made by Du Jiabana last year. We believe that Chinese consumers will not deny a brand because of a specific mistake if it is only an unintentional mistake, correcting the wrong attitude in time and without follow-up.
Mutual respect is essential, not to mention that Western companies that come to China to do business are particularly meaningful to maintain friendly relations with Chinese consumers. As long as we are sincere, we believe that this is not difficult to achieve.
(The author of Shan Renping is a commentator of the Global Times)
Source: Global Times Responsible Editor: Guo Ping_B7442