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Why companies’ apologies to Beijing are backfiring

Chinese consumers have boycotted dozens of Western brands in recent years. Companies have found themselves in the crosshairs for failing to include Taiwan on a map of China. Others appear to have been targeted because their home country’s government has offended Beijing.

Because China is a crucial market, most boycott victims are quick to apologize. But as Swedish researchers write in a new report, contrite companies shouldn’t expect their boycotters to forgive and forget. Often, the contempt only intensifies, while an obsequious apology in Beijing can irritate Western consumers.


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