Top firms listing HK, Macao, Taiwan incorrectly

Source:Global Times Published: 2019/9/11 21:53:40

Companies should respect one-China principle: CASS

A screenshot of Coach website that lists Hong Kong as a country Photo: a screen shot of Coach official website

Among the world's top 500 companies in 2018, 80 percent of them have wrong or inappropriate referencing for China's Hong Kong, Macao or Taiwan on their official sites or their maps, according to a report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS).

The study was based on "the condition of multinational corporations complying with the one-China principle," and it found that out of the world's top 500 companies in 2018, 158 of them refer to the territories, but 127 of them are either making mistakes or not appropriately referencing the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), Macao SAR, and the island of Taiwan, accounting for more than 80 percent.

Among the 127 companies, seven are Chinese firms - AIA Group, Midea Group, Quanta Computer, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, CK Hutchison Holdings, Wistron Corp, and Fubon Financial Holdings.
Only 30 foreign companies have the correct referencing for the three regions. A total of 34 out of 44 US companies use the wrong listing: 29 of them list Taiwan separately, 27 of them list Hong Kong separately, and six of them list Macao separately. There wasn't one single US company that listed Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao as part of China at the same time, the survey showed.

The survey was jointly carried out by the Institute of Law of the CASS and the Internet Development Research Institution of Peking University. The survey's results will be collected in the 2019 Blue Book on Rule of Law in Cyberspace.

The one-China principle is a legal fact recognized by international law. All international public or private sector actors, including multinational corporations should comply with this principle, Zhi Zhenfeng, a researcher with the CASS and the chief editor of the Blue Book told the Global Times on Tuesday.

But the likelihood of multinational corporations complying with the one-China principle is not promising, Zhi said.

In August, famous international brands including COACH, Versace and Swarovski were exposed to be listing Hong Kong and Taiwan as countries, prompting strong criticism. Afterwards, many of them apologized and changed their listings. 

The Civil Aviation Administration of China contacted 44 foreign airlines in April 2018, asking them to correct similar mistakes on their official websites.

This year marked the survey's second release. Comparing the results of the two surveys, 67 percent of top companies, such as Nissan Motor Co and Hitachi, didn't correct their mistakes; 13.4 percent of companies, including Citigroup, ArcelorMittal and Auchan, got worse and began making other mistakes in referencing the three regions; and 10.9 percent of companies didn't list Hong Kong as separate from China last year but made that mistake this year, such as Societe Generale and MetLife Inc.

The latest survey also found that some multinational corporations had corrected their mistakes, such as Siemens, Royal Dutch Shell Group, and Procter & Gamble.

More companies have started to realize the importance of respecting the one-China principle, Zhi said, but the overall condition is still not optimistic.

The study group said that to curb inappropriate references, such behavior needs to be punished severely. Inspection by related departments and self-checking by companies should be enhanced. The public is also encouraged to report and monitor any breaches.

Global Times

Posted in: ECONOMY

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