THAAD fallout: Korean restaurants in China distance themselves from Korea

Society & Culture

Top society and culture news for March 10. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "A Manhattan mansion for a jailed Chinese tycoon."

  • Two Chinese South Korean-style restaurants to stop selling Lotte products / Global Times
    Multi-brand catering enterprise Halla Group, which is known in China for its Korean-style barbecue, released a statement on Tuesday, announcing that it has never sold or used any products from the Korean conglomerate Lotte, and that the restaurant chain itself, to many people’s surprise, is a “100 percent Chinese-funded enterprise.”
    Following the move by Halla Group, another Korean barbecue restaurant, Quanjincheng, said on Wednesday that the company would stop selling all Lotte products, including liquor and beverages, in all its chain restaurants nationwide, and that the company is also “established, funded, and operated by Chinese.” The two restaurant brands are among many retailers and online platforms that are trying to insulate themselves from the wave of boycotts against Lotte (paywall) caused by the growing tensions between Beijing and Seoul after the deployment of the American THAAD missile defense system in South Korea., China’s second-largest ecommerce platform, stopped sales of Lotte confectionery last week. Alibaba’s Tmall platform had already stopped sales of Lotte products in January. Meanwhile, according to China-U.S. Focus, Japanese ecommerce company Rakuten issued a statement “begging Chinese consumers not to confuse its brand name with Lotte,” as both companies use the same Chinese characters: 乐天 lètiān.
  • Website removes racist ‘Save a dog, eat a Chinese’ T-shirts / Huffington Post
    Spreadshirt, a Germany-based online retailer that allows people to design shirts and sell them through its website, was embroiled in a controversy after a blog posted about the company selling two shirts designed by two internet users, which said, “Save a dog, eat a Chinese,” and “Save a shark, eat a Chinese,” respectively. Facing a furious online backlash, the company took the controversial shirts off its website but still has not issued an apology as requested by the Chinese Embassy in Berlin. In January, Air China, the country’s flagship carrier, became the first airline in mainland China to ban shark fin cargo, while shark fin imports to China has declined by 82 percent from 2012 to 2015.