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Fashion brands apologize for affronting Chinese sovereignty

(People's Daily Online)    13:54, August 14, 2019

(Economic View/Zhao Jiaran)

Fashion labels including Versace, Givenchy and Coach have recently apologized to Chinese consumers after labeling Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao as countries.

In a statement released on Monday, Coach said it had recalled all T-shirts on which Hong Kong was listed as both a city and country, which also listed Taipei's corresponding country as Taiwan.

Moreover, it is reported that Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan were running alongside countries including China and the US on Coach's official website.

The American brand's ambassador in China, supermodel Liu Wen, terminated her relationship with the brand on Monday due to this error, just 17 days after she signed a deal with the label.

Other Chinese ambassadors of the brands such as Guan Xiaotong and Xu Weizhou also announced they would cease cooperation with the brand.

In their statement, Coach also said it had reviewed and revised its website, and Hong Kong and Macao are now listed as special administrative regions while Taiwan is listed as a region.

Statistics show that Coach is running 218 franchises in China, and the brand frequently focused its attention on the Chinese market, saying getting close to Chinese consumers is one of its key strategies.

Luxury Italian label Versace also apologized on Monday afternoon for a T-shirt design which listed Hong Kong and Macao as countries.

Japanese sportswear brand Asics also upset China with geographical gaffes. It labeled Taiwan and Hong Kong as countries on its official English website while hiding the word "country" on its Chinese website. Instead, it only said "choose your location and language." On Aug. 12, the brand apologized on Chinese social media platform Weibo.

These mistakes made by famous fashion labels have not only triggered public anger in China, but may have also hindered their future development in the country, especially considering the current period of unrest in Hong Kong.

After being caught making mistakes, these transnational enterprises come out and apologize, showing a great desire for "survival". However, do apologies work?

If they respected China, they should not have hurt the feelings of the Chinese people in the first place.

Those who conduct business in China have to obey Chinese laws, and those who disobey must pay the price instead of just being condemned.

It's time for enterprises who affront Chinese sovereignty to wake up. If you keep breaking the bottom line, you may find yourself ditched entirely. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Liang Jun)

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