US cosmetic company MAC has become the latest brand to irritate Chinese consumers by posting a map image which omitted Taiwan.
In its latest promotional email celebrating International Women’s day to US customers, the company omitted the island of Taiwan on a map. The email, released under the tagline “Girl Power”, features the most popular products from several countries. Due to the disputed diplomatic status of the island, it has become increasingly common for audiences on either side of the debate to become aggrieved whenever the island is or isn’t included on China maps. So it was that angered netizens in support of China’s claims to the territory voiced their displeasure at the perceived gaffe.
On 9 March, MAC China responded with a statement on its official Weibo account, saying that MAC China has acknowledged the issue and sincerely apologised to its Chinese customers and netizens. Also, MAC China said it has immediately liaised with their US colleagues to amend the map and would issue a new map as soon as possible. Internal investigations were underway according to a statement.
MAC China reiterated that the company adheres to the one-China policy and that it would improve procedure management and staff training to prevent similar incidents occurring in future.
At time of writing, MAC’s apologetic Weibo post has received 17,594 shares, 12,003 comments and 14,312 likes. Brand ambassador Zhang Yixing commented under the post that all MAC China staff realised no mistakes can be made regarding China’s territory. He demanded that the US headquarters should attach equal importance to the incident, correct the mistake as soon as possible, and never make the same mistake again.
This is far from the first time that Chinese consumers have been sensitive to marketing campaigns and ads about Taiwan. Notably, in January of this year, McDonald’s Taiwan sparked controversy with the launch of an ad that Chinese netizens claimed supported Taiwanese independence. Though the ad was produced by McDonald’s Taiwan, it was McDonald’s China who issued an apology in that case.