Gap Inc. (GPS) had to apologize to China for depicting an incomplete map of the country on one of its T-shirts. The map depicted China excluding the disputed regions of Taiwan, Southern Tibet and the South China Sea. After a photo of the T-shirt, which was on sale in Niagara, Canada, was posted online, it drew criticism from Chinese social media users.
Once the issue came to its attention, Gap issued an apology and stated that the T-shirt has been pulled from its stores. The T-shirt could not be found on the company’s website either. Gap added that it would undertake strict reviews to ensure that such incidents were never repeated.
The company said it respects China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and that it strictly follows Chinese laws and rules. China said it has noted Gap’s apology and will follow their actions later on.
The US termed China’s actions as “Orwellian nonsense”
China is sensitive about its disputed regions and this is not the first time a company has endured the country’s wrath over the same. Renowned hotel chain Marriott International (MAR) , fashion retailer Zara and airlines company Delta Air Lines (DAL) were all made to apologize for listing Taiwan and Tibet as separate countries. Automaker Audi too faced wrath over a similar issue while Mercedes-Benz had to say sorry for quoting the Dalai Lama, who is not on China’s list of favorite people.
Last month, China warned several international airlines against referring to Taiwan as a separate country, though this has been met with opposition on some fronts. The US termed China’s action against the airlines as “Orwellian nonsense” while Taiwan’s foreign minister described China’s domineering attitude on his country as “unfortunate” and one that would push people away than bring them closer.