Australia flight carrier Qantas Airways has revealed plans to make changes to its website to refer to Taiwan as a Chinese territory and not as an independent country. However, it added it needed more time to comply with the request.
“You would’ve seen earlier this year we made some changes to our websites, we’re also very grateful that we’ve been granted an extension with regards to the latest request,” the Qantas executive team said in a statement to Marketing.
The statement explained that there is still some “complexity to work through”. This was not just for Qantas Airline, but was a Qantas Group piece which needed to be adjusted.
“The IT and technology that underpins our websites and the connectivity takes time for us to get to grips with changes that need to be put into the programming stages of that. So our intention is to meet the requirements, it’s just us taking the time to get there,” the statement added.
The move follows after China’s aviation regulator told three dozen airlines to remove references on websites which states Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as countries independent from China. The deadline was on 25 May 2018, according to Reuters.
Beyond the aviation industry, retailers have also come under fire for not making the distinction clear. Last month, Japanese retailer Muji was fined for using packaging that mentions Taiwan as a country. According to Reuters, the fine amounts to 200,000 yuan and this occurred when Muji imported 119 clothes hangers from Japan last year in packaging that marked Taiwan as the “country of origin”, the Shanghai Administration for Industry and Commerce said in a statement.
Gap also apologised for selling a shirt with an incorrect map of China after photos of the shirt found in an outlet store in Canada made the rounds online. The fashion retailer also pulled the product off its shelves in China and destroyed the shirts, a statement on its Weibo read. It also added that it would implement more rigorous reviews to ensure the same thing would not happen again.
In January, a number of brands including Marriott came under fire both by netizens and authorities when it emailed a Chinese-language questionnaire to its customer rewards programme members, one of which asked members to list their country of residence, giving Tibet, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as possible options.