Screenshots of marketing the nutty confectionery featuring South Korean boy band BTS were quickly picked up on social media in mainland China, where any suggestion that the island is an independent nation is highly taboo.
“We are aware of reports of Snickers-related activity in certain regions of Asia, take this very seriously and offer our deepest apologies,” said a Mars Wrigley statement posted Friday on Snickers China’s Weibo page.
The company has asked Snickers’ local team to check and amend its official website and social media account “to ensure that the company’s publicity content is correct,” it added.
“Mars Wrigley respects China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity and conducts business activities in strict compliance with local Chinese laws and regulations,” the statement said.
Hours after the initial statement, Snickers China shared another Weibo post, adding that “there is only one China in this world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China’s territory”.
Beijing reacted furiously this week when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi defied his warnings and visited Taiwan — which China claims to be part of its territory and has vowed to take it, by force if necessary.
China said Friday it is ending cooperation with the United States on key issues, including climate change, and has in recent days surrounded the self-governed democratic island with a series of military exercises.
Mars Wrigley is far from the first international company to apologize over concerns about losing access to China’s vast consumer market.
In 2019, French luxury brand Dior apologized after using a map of China in a presentation that did not include Taiwan.
Marriott’s website in China was shut down for a week by authorities in 2018 after a customer survey listed Taiwan, Tibet and Hong Kong as separate countries.
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