Swarovski latest luxury brand to apologize to China

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Luxury brands Versace, Coach, and Givenchy also all apologised this week for making perceived affronts to China's national sovereignty with T-shirts listing Hong Kong and Taiwan as separate countries.

On Sunday, Italian fashion house Versace and its artistic director Donatella Versace apologised after widespread criticism on Chinese social media over a T-shirt it designed seemed to imply Hong Kong and Macau were independent countries.

In announcing the break-up with Coach, her studio said that "China's territorial integrity and sovereignty are sacred and inviolable at all times", whereas the model apologised for her choice of brand. One user even wrote, "to safeguard national sovereignty and to crush all separatist acts, please pick up a Huawei and smash it!"

In 2018, China vowed to increase its policing over how overseas companies refer to territories such as Hong Kong and Macau, both of which are Chinese territories but run with a high degree of autonomy. Chinese people did not accept the brand's apology, Bloomberg reported.

Coach also issued an apology, saying that the t-shirts were from a 2018 collection and that they were pulled globally past year.

Whether these brands are genuinely aware of their mistakes or just want to ensure the prosperity of their businesses in China, what the Chinese people desire is simply mutual respect and understanding. The brand was removed from online retailers in China, such as Alibaba's Tmall and JD, after the event. "This is common knowledge - and it's the bottom line", the illustration says.

"The worldwide community should watch China's rhetoric and actions closely", she said in comments circulated to reporters on Monday.

The Chinese market is key for luxury brands, and many have been quick to publicly express regret over clothing designs that have upset Chinese consumers.

Companies increasingly find themselves in the crossfire of tensions over the protests in Hong Kong, which are now entering their third month.

The company also lost the support of their brand ambassador, Chinese actress Jiang Shuying, as the row deepened.

However, Coach wasn't the only company that found itself in trouble for mislabelling Chinese-claimed lands. In it, the group sings they are sorry for not loving China enough because they don't own a made-in-China smartphone.

Meanwhile, posts accusing foreign brands of disregarding China's borders are still flooding social media. So the bigger fear is the damage done to Hong Kong's standing as a conduit between China and the rest of the world.

Some commenters already sent out a warning message to foreign brands: "Are you ready to apologise?"

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