Bulgari has become the latest international brand to apologize to China after listing Taiwan as a country on its website.
China claims Taiwan as its territory, and the Chinese government and netizens have a habit of punishing or boycotting global brands that label Taiwan as a separate country. Late Tuesday, Bulgari posted an apology on Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, saying it “unhesitatingly and always” respects China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
“Our brand promptly corrected the incorrectly marked store addresses and map directions on the official official website, which were caused by the negligence of management,” the Italian luxury brand said in a statement. We deeply apologize for this error. »
The signs have also been criticized for insulting Beijing’s other geopolitical sensitivities, including its territorial claims in the South China Sea and the status of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan leader in exile.
The Bulgari incident was widely discussed on Chinese social media, with some users demanding that the brand also post its apology on its international social media accounts.
“Did you post it on the Internet abroad?” Read 1 comment with more than 40,000 likes. “Don’t be a hypocritical person who only wants to see the Chinese (apologies).”
The Weibo thread asking users if they accept Bulgari’s apology was viewed more than 12 million times on Wednesday afternoon.
Several Chinese government publications have joined Bulgari’s call to also apologize for its international programming.
“Bulgari made a mistake on its official website abroad, but only apologized on its account in China,” a comment from China Daily said. Such an excuse can hardly convince Chinese consumers.
Brands such as Valentino, Calvin Klein, Coach, Zara and Delta Airlines have apologized in recent years for listing Taiwan as a separate country or region from China on their websites.
Mercedes-Benz apologized in 2018 for quoting the Dalai Lama on Instagram, while in the same year Gap apologized for selling a T-shirt with a map of China that omitted Taiwan and the sea from southern China.