Add Christian Dior to the growing list of Western brands tangling with China.
The French fashion house issued an apology Thursday over a map of China used during a presentation that didn’t include Taiwan. The small island is a self-ruled democracy that Beijing insists be treated as part of its “one China” initiative.
The message posted on Dior’s verified Weibo account said it was an employee’s fault, and that it supports China’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity.” It also wrote that it will investigate the incident, which happened Wednesday at a university in China.
China is one of the world’s biggest markets for luxury goods, and Chinese shoppers at home and abroad make up almost a third of purchases globally, according to McKinsey. Shoppers in Asia (excluding Japan) account for nearly a third of Dior’s revenue in 2018 — the most of any region.
Dior is owned by luxury conglomerate LVMH, which also operates Louis Vuitton and Hennessy. The company didn’t immediately reply to CNN Business’ request for comment.
Dior is the latest Western company to make concessions in order to do business in China’s coveted consumer market, particularly on the issue of Taiwan. Three US-based airlines caved to Chinese demands to change drop-down menus and maps to read “Taiwan, China” rather than simply “Taiwan.”
Gap last year apologized for a T-shirt with a map of China that did not include Taiwan. Zara also came under fire over similar issues on its website in China and apologized.
A more prominent flashpoint between Western companies and China are the pro-democracy protests occurring in Hong Kong over the past several months.
The NBA faced fierce backlash sparked by Houston Rockets executive Daryl Morey after he tweeted support for the protests. That tweet caused all of the NBA’s official Chinese partners to suspend business ties with the league. Some companies have started to restore partnerships with the NBA.
Apple and Google also apologized for apps in their respective stores tied to the Hong Kong protests.
–CNN’s Steven Jiang and Christine Romans contributed to this report.