By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, Aug. 13: Following backlash from Chinese consumers for mentioning Hong Kong and Taiwan as separate countries from China, luxury brands Versace, Coach and Givenchy became the latest companies to apologize to China.
The three companies earlier sold T-shirts that showed countries with their capital city. The t-shirts showed Taipei-Taiwan, Hong Kong- Hong Kong and Macau-Macau riling Chinese consumers that alleged the companies of undermining their country’s sovereignty. Chinese netizens on Sina Weibo, one of China’s most popular micro-blogging site, read posts related to the incident over a billion times since incident occurred.
Many called for the ban on the products prompting the companies to issue swift apologies.
Milan based Versace issued a “deep apology”, saying that it “is committed to long-term development in China and respects the feelings of the Chinese people”. Donatella Versace, sister of the fashion house’s late founder Gianni, on her Instagram account wrote, “Never have I wanted to disrespect China’s National Sovereignty and this is why I wanted to personally apologize for such inaccuracy and for any distress that it might have caused.”
US label company Coach and French company Givenchy also also issued similar statements.
Chinese celebrities who endorsed the companies also disassociated themselves from the brands and cut ties with them. Chinese actress Yang Mi who is Versace’s China brand ambassador and member of the Chinese boy band TFBoys, Jackson Yee who endorses Givenchy announced they will not work with the companies.
The three companies join a long list of western brands such as Delta Air Lines, high end accessories brand Bulgari, medical device-maker Medtronic and fashion brand Zara among others who had apologized to the consumers and government of China fearing banning of their businesses in the lucrative Chinese market.