Jewellery retailer Swarovski has issued a sweeping apology over implying Hong Kong is not part of China, the latest international brand to fall foul of rising nationalistic sentiments on the mainland.
The apology followed the resignation of its Chinese brand ambassador Jiang Shuying and follows a string of social-media controversies in recent weeks over fashion brands differentiating Hong Kong and China, including Coach, Givenchy and Versace.
Instances of Hong Kong being portrayed as an independent country or market have garnered far more attention since June, coinciding with growing protests in the territory against perceived mainland encroachment on Hong Kong laws and governance.
“Considering the recent happenings in China, Swarovski takes full responsibility and sincerely apologises to the people of China, as well as to our collaborative partners and brand ambassador, Ms Jiang Shuying, who have been deeply disappointed due to misleading communication on China’s National Sovereignty,” Swarovski wrote in a statement distributed via social media.
“We have strengthened our global brand awareness and we will continue to review all our digital platforms globally to correct any inaccuracies,” the statement continued.
“We abide by our commitment to act as a responsible corporate citizen, which has been embedded in the way we do business since the foundation of our company in 1895. In keeping with this tradition, Swarovski has always firmly respected China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity, providing the Chinese market with unified worldwide services and products.
“Swarovski will continue to support a harmonious society, together with the Chinese people.”