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Price to pay for angering mainland consumers

By Zhang Zhouxiang | China Daily | Updated: 2019-09-03 07:22

Jin Ding/China Daily

Garic Kwok, son and potential heir to the founder of Hong Kong-based Taipan Bread& Cakes, was found to be sharing links and pictures on social media supporting those breaking the law in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. China Daily writer Zhang Zhouxiang comments:

After being criticized, Kwok deleted all related information and apologized, saying that his words are "purely personal" and have nothing to do with the company. He also apologized to anyone who feels offended.

Yet screenshots of his improper words have already spread all over the social networks, and Taipan products have already disappeared from domestic e-commerce platforms.

It should be noted that all the e-commerce platforms are private companies and they deleted Taipan commodities out of their own choice. Actually, even if the platforms did not delete them, Taipan products would not sell well, because mainland customers have already expressed their anger at Kwok's deeds.

A look at domestic social networks shows that mainland people expect the rule of law to be upheld by Hong Kong residents. Kwok lives in Hong Kong and he is able to witness the chaos created by the criminal acts of some for himself.

As he has expressed support for those who break the law in Hong Kong, it is natural for mainland consumers to vent their anger and boycott Taipan products.

Some worry that businesses might be easily politicized with incidents like Taipan's. That worry is unnecessary. It is Kwok who politicized his own business and he has paid a price for that.

Besides, it is difficult to persuade people to dislike a brand if it does not cause offense.

This February, someone shared the photo of a Chinese model selected by Spanish clothing brand Zara, saying the company deliberately chose an ugly Chinese girl, which they said was insulting. That was rejected by the majority of Chinese media outlets and readers, who believe Zara has the right to select a model according to its own tastes.

Time for Taipan to learn a lesson, and for other brands to avoid making the same mistake.

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