Maserati cuts ties with Taiwan awards

By Xu Keyue Source:Global Times Published: 2019/10/24 22:08:40

Company’s decision consistent with Chinese mainland opinion: observers

A Maserati Ghibli Ermenegildo Zegna Edition Concept displpyed at Auto Shanghai 2015. Photo: IC

Italian luxury carmaker Maserati has suspended ties with the Golden Horse Awards on the island of Taiwan, stressing to uphold the one-China principle, soon after media revealed that it re-sponsored the awards mired in politics.

Observers said the company's decision to cut its sponsorship of the awards is consistent with Chinese mainland public opinion, a key overseas market for the company.

Maserati announced on its Sina Weibo on Wednesday that sponsorship is determined by local distributors and does not represent the company's official position.

The company had required distributors to suspend all ties with the awards, and vowed to strengthen supervision to prevent such an incident from happening again, according to its announcement.

"Maserati always respects China's territorial integrity, history and culture, and firmly upholds the one-China principle," the announcement said.

The Taipei Golden Horse Film Festival's official website said the Maserati brand was removed from the sponsors list.

The announcement came after the China Film Administration in August banned mainland movies and artists from participating in November's 56th festival, a week after the mainland authorities halted a pilot program for individual mainland tourists from 47 cities to visit Taiwan due to the current cross-Straits ties.

Another Italian luxury brand Bvlgari, Chinese mobile phone brand OPPO and Piaget also pulled out of the festival, Hong Kong media Singtao Daily reported on August 26. 

Mainland film industry insiders linked the prohibition to secessionist comments made by Taiwan filmmaker Fu Yu. 

At last year's awards ceremony, Fu expressed her support for the secession of Taiwan in her acceptance speech for her award-winning documentary, "Our Youth in Taiwan," which tells the story of the anti-mainland Sunflower Student Movement. 

However, the festival organizers did not warn Fu for politicizing the cultural event. Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen even expressed her support for Fu on her Facebook account.

Foreign companies which enter the Chinese market should respect local consumers' sentiments, Shi Wenxue, a Beijing-based film critic, told the Global Times on Thursday.

Maserati's move could be seen as catering to public opinion, Shi said.

China has become the company's largest market worldwide, overtaking the US, in 2017. 

According to a March report by the Wall Street Journal, Maserati dealers in China have almost doubled to 96 in the past four years. However, China is no longer its largest market, as sales volume fell by more than half last year.

Several other foreign companies including Swarovski, Versace and Givenchy have apologized on Chinese social media for mislabeling Chinese regions Hong Kong, Taiwan or Macao as countries on their products and websites, which quelled the anger of Chinese netizens and consumers.

Posted in: SOCIETY

blog comments powered by Disqus