Starbucks faces Forbidden City ban – Mure Dickie

From The Financial Times:

Starbucks could be banished from Beijing’s fabled Forbidden City amid complaints that the presence of the ubiquitous US coffee shop chain in the former imperial palace constitutes an “affront to Chinese culture”.

China’s official media said on Thursday that a low-key Starbucks outlet near the rear of the sprawling Palace Museum site might be removed following online protests sparked by a patriotic polemic published by a TV anchorman on his personal blog.

The controversy surrounding Starbucks’ presence in the Forbidden City highlights the risks to foreign companies of offending Chinese nationalist sentiment.

State media said this week that a Russian TV commercial for Wrigley’s chewing gum that used China’s national anthem had “harmed the dignity” of the country, upset internet users and caused a drop in sales in at least one Chinese city. [Full Text]

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January 19, 2007 9:43 AM
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