Mars Wrigley, the company behind Snickers, M&Ms and Mars, has apologized in China because the company described Taiwan as a country in the Snickers ad. China considers the island nation, which has already been independent since 1949, to be a rebellious province and demands that companies name Taiwan as part of China.
Snickers named Taiwan a country during an event with South Korean boy group BTS. It was held outside of China, but videos of the event immediately garnered a lot of attention in China. Then Mars Wrigley got to his knees on Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like service. In a letter, the American company not only apologized, but also stated that it had asked its Asian division to edit the texts on the websites.
After the apology, Mars Wrigley came with a second message. In it, the company said it “respects China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity” and strictly adheres to all Chinese laws. “There is only one China in this world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China,” the US company added.
Companies are likely to apologize to China
In recent years, nationalism has increased in China, and companies have had to apologize frequently for what are seen as insults in the Asian country. In 2019, for example, French luxury brand Dior had to apologize for using a map of China, where Taiwan wasn’t located, in a presentation.
A year ago, the Marriott China location had to close for a week after a survey identified Taiwan, Tibet and Hong Kong as separate countries.
Many other companies have also chosen not to anger China and refer to Taiwan, for example, as “Taiwan, China” or “Chinese Taipei.” Under this name, the country also participates in the Olympics due to Chinese pressure.
Tensions over Taiwan have risen sharply recently due to the visit of US politician Nancy Pelosi to the island. China is angry and has been holding military exercises all over Taiwan for several days.
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