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Will Western brands recover sales in China following backlash over hurting cultural sensitivities and political controversies?


From decades high end brands from Western countries have faced a backlash from Chinese consumers due to reasons ranging from political controversies cultural insensitivity. The recent fallout for many consumer brands has been due concern expressed by them over the alleged human rights abuses in the Xinjiang province which former president Trump’s administration termed as “genocide.”


The recent Western brands that faced consumer ire from China are


  • H&M
  • Nike
  • Adidas
  • Puma

Hugo Boss AG came under fire from Chinese celebrities over its stance on human rights in China, ensnaring the company in a growing boycott of western firms who won’t use cotton produced in the region of Xinjiang over concerns it’s made with forced labor by Muslim-minority Uyghurs. But Hugo Boss stands with the Chinese Government and refuses to boycott.





All these Western brands are members of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI). This non-profit group promotes sustainable cotton production. Although the cotton from the Xinjiang province is of high quality, United Nations, Amnesty and other world human rights activists groups say that the Chinese government has mistreated the ethnic Uighur and other natives in the region and forced them to produce cotton amid human rights abuses.


Chinese Celebrity Li Yifeng, Zhu Zhengting, and Xiaogui Wanglin Kaifang all issued statements indicating the termination of cooperation with Hugo Boss BOSS.


Jeorg Wutke who is the President of EU Chamber of Commerce in the country said that brand boycott is common behavior and has been an impediment for Western brands as they grapple with China’s increasing economic growth as well as the changing attitudes in Europe.


In the past, Western brands have fallen afoul of Chinese consumers with advertisements that were considered offensive and clumsy. Three such leadings brands who also faced Chinese ire include


  • Burberry
  • Balenciaga
  • Dolce & Gabbana


Even a sports company has faced backlash due to political controversies. The Houston Rockets were sidelined by the Chinese Basketball Association, Li-Ning, a Chinese sportswear brand and Shanghai Pudong Development Bank who was the club’s sponsor in China. The state-run broadcaster CCTV and Tencent Holdings, the platform that streams NBA in China, said that they would stop broadcasting the Rockets’ games after their manager Daryl Morey posted support for the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.


According to BBC News Mr. Wuttke said that the Chinese anger blows over in time and the key question was the duration of the boycotts.

Source Bloomberg News

Source Fortune Inc

Source YouTube

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