BEIJING - American candy giant Mars Wrigley has insisted it respects China's national sovereignty and apologised for an advertisement for its Snickers bar referred to Taiwan as a country, sparking outrage on the mainland.
Videos and pictures showed a Snickers website promoting a limited edition Snickers bar, which said the product was only available in the countries of Taiwan, Malaysia and South Korea. The commercial, featuring South Korean boyband BTS, caused an outpour of anger on Chinese microblogging platform Weibo on Friday. Mars Wrigley later published an apology on its Snickers China Weibo account and said the relevant content had been amended.
We are aware of reports on Snickers-related activities in certain regions of Asia, take this very seriously and express our deep apologies, the company said.
Mars Wrigley respects China's national sovereignty and territorial integrity and conducts its business operations in strict compliance with local Chinese laws and regulations. After the first statement, Snickers China shared another Weibo post, saying there is only one China in this world, and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China's territory. Beijing considers Taiwan to be part of its territory and has never renounced using force to bring the island under its control.
After U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited the island on Tuesday, the outcry over the Snickers advertisement came as the sensitivities surrounding Taiwan in mainland China were at their highest level in decades, prompting China to announce live-firing exercises around the island and a long list of import bans on Taiwanese products.
On Friday, China said that it was ending cooperation with the United States on key issues including climate change, and has in recent days encircled the self-ruled democratic island with a series of military drills.
Mars Wrigley is not the first international firm to issue an apology about the possibility of losing access to China's massive consumer market.
In the year 2019, French luxury brand Dior apologized for using a map of China in a presentation that did not include Taiwan.
A customer questionnaire listed Taiwan, Tibet and Hong Kong as separate countries, and Marriott's website shut down for a week in 2018 by authorities in China.