SOURCE / COMPANIES
S. Korean shoe brand threatens to cut China sales amid cultural spat, dismissed by Chinese netizens
Published: Mar 18, 2021 08:08 PM
South Korean divers wearing traditional Korean hanbok dress pose in an aquarium for visitors during an event to celebrate the New Year at Lotte World Aquarium in Seoul on Sunday. Photo: AFP

South Korean divers wearing traditional Korean hanbok dress pose in an aquarium for visitors during an event to celebrate the New Year at Lotte World Aquarium in Seoul. Photo: AFP



South Korean skateboard shoe brand Lakai are now believed by Chinese netizens as trying to grab media attention in South Korea by announcing its plans to suspend sales to Chinese market, following a controversy over traditional Korean costumes.

Lakai wrote in an official statement that the company has been flooded with phone calls and emails complaining about their outdoor advertisement for Korean Hanbok (clothing) distributed in Times Square in New York, on top of the controversy over kimchi. 

"Lakai Korea will stop selling in China indefinitely," according to the brand's official statement.

Lakai's statement received a barrage from Chinese netizens, with many pointing out the Korean brand has little fame in China and a negligible sales record. 

Chinese netizens' comments with highest likes all talked about how Lakai has been purposely using this statement as a controversial tactic to generate subsequent buzz around the brand in Korea.

The fact that a little-known brand jumping out to get involved in a long-lasting cultural spat between China and South Korea, from kimchi, traditional costumes to traditional folk holidays, is nothing but an attempt to gain media attention in South Korea, the netizens said.

"Got to say this effort has achieved its aim, I finally heard that there is a South Korean skate shoe brand of that name," one Chinese netizen sarcastically wrote on Sina Weibo social media platform.

China and South Korea have a lot of similarities in their cultures, which are a precious heritage formed by the two countries learning from one another over thousands of years, Li Tianguo, associate professor at the National Institute of International Strategy, told the Global Times on Thursday. 

South Korean companies taking advantage of traditional cultural elements to hype their brands may gain them more attention from South Korean media and netizens for a while, but such an approach hurts the feelings of Chinese people, said Li. "It is irrational and unwise."


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