South Korea’s fifth-largest conglomerate, Lotte, which manages a chain of supermarkets in China, has packed what may be its last grocery bags in the country after nearly a year of official investigations and unofficial boycotts of its products by nationalistic Chinese citizens. The Wall Street Journal reports (paywall) that the company — already suffering greatly, having closed 87 of its 99 stores in China since March this year — may finally have folded in China, as it announced sale plans were being drawn up for Goldman Sachs to manage its business there.
The lashing out at Lotte began last year after South Korea approved the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system called THAAD on one of the conglomerate’s properties near Seoul. However, as we have written on SupChina, anti-Korean sentiment runs much deeper in China, so the THAAD and the Lotte boycott may be better characterized as spark and fire, rather than proportional cause and effect.
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