McDonald’s Taiwan has sparked controversy with the launch of a new ad, as Chinese netizens claim it supports Taiwanese independence.
Promoting one of the brand’s signature items, the Egg McMuffin, the ad features a female student who drops her admission ticket to an exam, on which the nationality reads Taiwan. Although the ad was only broadcast in Taiwan, some Chinese netizens still managed to view it and have voiced their belief the restaurant was demonstrating support for Taiwanese independence. Several Chinese netizens pledged to boycott McDonald’s and demanded an explanation over the perceived slight.
The video has already been withdrawn and McDonald’s China has expressed its regret over the ad, saying the ad had stirred up an unnecessary misunderstanding. The company stated its intention to “uphold a solid ‘One China’ stance and continue to support China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity”. McDonald’s China also made note that it was “grateful for the attention and supervision in the society”.
However, it is important to mention that McDonald’s Taiwan and McDonald’s China are two entirely different companies. In June 2017, Taiwanese restaurant chain operator Deyu Co. acquired McDonald’s assets in Taiwan. Meanwhile, in China, McDonald’s has been owned by CITIC Capital Holdings Ltd. and the US-based private equity firm Carlyle Group through an acquisition deal since January 2017. McDonald’s Taiwan has made no statement on the matter as of writing.
Because of this distinction, some Taiwanese netizens have ridiculed their Chinese counterparts, pointing out that vows to boycott and complaints made against McDonald’s in China were attacking the wrong company.
At this point, it may almost be ironic that the Egg McMuffin or Man Fu Bao, is pronounced in Mandarin to sound like “full of good luck.”