Canada Goose in crosshairs as Beijing-Ottawa ties sour

By Li Qingqing Source:Global Times Published: 2018/12/16 17:48:40

On December 14, Toronto-based Canada Goose Holdings Inc. said on its Weibo account that it was postponing the flagship store's debut, scheduled for December 15 in Beijing's Sanlitun district, "due to construction reasons." It didn't give a date when the store would open.

Since the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, China's tech giant Huawei's chief financial officer, in Canada, Canada Goose shares have dropped sharply and many Chinese consumers have promised a boycott of Canadian goods on social media.

Meng's case is one driven by politics. It puts China-Canada people-to-people exchanges at jeopardy. It is part of Washington's broad strategy to comprehensively contain China. Chinese people are aware that the blow to Huawei was an attempt to undermine China's development, and Canada is helping the US in doing so. It has seriously damaged Chinese people's trust in Canada. Consequently, it's a prudent move for Canada Goose to delay the opening of its Beijing store.

Canada Goose is an iconic winter clothing manufacturer that has become popular in recent years. It attracted Chinese consumers with its high-quality apparel, which brought generous profits to the brand. Last winter, there was an upsurge in sales of Canada Goose outerwear in Beijing and other Northern Chinese cities.

Like many foreign companies, Canada Goose knows that China is its new profit growth source. Its CEO Dani Reiss once said that they were "working on a China strategy" and "China is a huge potential market for us."

But the Canadian brand is unlucky. The Wall Street Journal said on December 11 that, "For many companies, China is the goose that lays golden eggs. When things turn, the country can also give you goosebumps."

It's understandable that some angry Chinese consumers are asking people to boycott Canadian goods. After all, all consumers around the world hope other countries will respect their homeland.

However, we don't encourage such a boycott. Chinese people should judge the case as it stands instead of rashly fomenting nationalist sentiment and making Canadian companies the victim of politics. Distinguishing between politics and trade fits China's reform and opening-up policy.

Most Chinese netizens are reasonable. Canadian actor and host Christopher Downs apologized for what his country did recently on Weibo, and netizens responded with warm words, saying that, "you are a kind person" and "it's not your fault."

China is now the world's second largest economy. Chinese people are walking out of the national humiliation of the past and facing the world with an open mind. The new round of reform and opening-up will provide us with more confidence to deal with this complicated situation. Chinese people love their country, and we also have a strong and generous heart.

Chinese consumers' boycott is an instinctive act when they sense threat and unfairness. Nobody really wants to put Canada Goose out of business. If Canada and the US eventually make the right decision on Meng's case, the premium brand would still be broadly-welcomed in China.

Canada should be prepared for a drawn out affair. If Meng's case enters the extradition process, it won't be solved in a short time. The longer it takes, the angrier Chinese people may become. That's not the outcome that China desires. It is hoped Canada will make an independent and fair decision.

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