Reposting a thread by Viking Bohman on the first comprehensive overview of Chinese consumer boycotts against foreign companies in the last decade


Viking Bohman @vikingbohman

Analyst, Swedish National China Centre | Chinese foreign policy



Brands Apologize Quickly to China Consumers, Except on Xinjiang

  • Firms apologize often on territory issues, not Xinjiang: Study
  • Businesses walk tightrope amid China’s rising nationalism

By Jinshan Hong and Yasufumi Saito

12 July 2022 at 5:00 am MYT Updated on 12 July 2022 at 1:20 pm MYT

Amid a rising wave of nationalism, Chinese shoppers have mounted at least 78 boycotts of foreign companies since 2016, more than six times the number seen in the preceding eight years, a new study found.

And while consumer brands all face the same complex operating environment in China, how they get out of hot water differs depending on the issue, according to research by the Swedish National China Centre. In general, companies quickly apologize when they’re being boycotted for issues around territory China considers sovereign, but far less frequently when it comes to the topic of alleged human rights violations.

More than 80% of companies apologized upon facing backlash for actions or advertising seen as infringing on China’s territorial integrity, such as the status of Taiwan and Tibet or the pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong. By contrast, only about a quarter of firms expressed regret after making a stance against sourcing products from Xinjiang — the province where China is accused of human rights violations against the ethnic Uyghur group — stirred social media furore. 

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