Surviving China Scandals

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Hello again from Aim2D real time, 24/7 China Business, Marketing, Tech and Social Media News Portal of Bic Brands based in sunny Shunyi. Tuesdays we look at business, marketing, tech or social news in and around China. Friday is image gallery where we examine a place, topic or subject giving you greater insight, background to life in China, and of course, your Chinese consumer.

Today we are going to look at some of the pits foreign firms can stumble into in China.

As we mentioned in our post Tuesday 5th July 2022, in the 20 years we have been in business in China we have seen the US led anti China rhetoric grow stronger and more vicious.

This has led to what might be coined a political version of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. As the attacks ex Washington increase, so does the push back from Beijing.

Oft, brands fall into the scandal trap by accident and no fault of their own. Some good examples of this are the reliance and dependence on Chinese celebs or KOL’s as Brand Ambassadors.

Everything goes swimmingly until one of said ambassadors falls from grace. Recent cases include sex scandals, cheating spouses and tax avoidance. The ensuing fall out inevitably showers down on any brand involved resulting in damage control mode.

Other times foreign business are innocently “trapped” or targeted by the Chinese Gvt as retaliation to the previously mentioned offshore anti China rhetoric. Several months back, many international airlines were warned about classifying Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as countries, rather than Chinese provinces.

As part of their armoury, China has built up a massive on line army of keyboard warriors, brimming with carefully orchestrated national pride, ready to bristle and battle at anything they see as the merest slight against China, Chinese culture, history or anything anti Chinese.

And just as the carefully ignited flames of hatred for communism and China are mindlessly spread via Facebook etal, so too does Chinese social media explode with equally orchestrated, self righteous anger.

And then again there are case where some brands seem to deliberately go out of their way to court trouble and indignation. The now infamous “Chopstick Spaghetti” commercial by Dolce and Gabana is a classic example of brain not engaged. It was viewed by Chinese as racist and insulting (which it was) but at the same time, racism is obviously selectively viewed in China. Or a one way street. If you missed it this backgrounds the Dolce and Gabbana controversy.

In many ways, China is like a child growing up. From the spoilt tantrums of a self orientated 2 year old to the arrogance of teenage; over confident and cocky with their “new found powers” and knowledge. Rebelling against the status quo, ignoring parental advice, often dissolve into tears or regress to tantrums when things don’t go their way. Yet by some inexplicable process we eventually emerge into reasonably balanced, understanding adults. More or less~

No doubt inside another 2 decades, China will have found its place in the world and better able to understand and interact with those who hold a slightly different view.

The “West” should by then have a better understanding of Asia, and also be better able to interact. Hopefully we will have blended the best of all cultures and live in a more stable, understanding, peaceful, cooperative world by then. Well, one can dream~

But until then, overseas brands and organisations need to be mindful that this is not their native country, and somethings which may be OK “back home” simply are not going to fly in Asia.

With that in mind we are pleased to be able to share with you this report from Jing Daily. It covers market research, best practices, and case studies. For any foreign firm looking at entering or already in China this guide on avoiding or limiting the fallout from controversies in China is an invaluable must read.

Read Jing Daily’s overview and download your own guide to “Surviving Scandal in China’s Luxury Market.”

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