A woman tries Dior perfume in a mall. (Photo: IC)
Luxury brand Dior on Thursday issued a statement, apologizing for a staff member who used a map of China without the island of Taiwan at a corporate recruitment event and who incorrectly referred to Chinese territories.
Dior issued a statement on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo on Thursday, saying the staff member's expression did not represent the company's stance on China and promising to seriously handle the case.
"Dior always respects and upholds the one-China principle, strictly maintains China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and values Chinese people's feelings," it read.
But the statement did not satisfy some internet users, who urged the company to apologize and issue a statement outside the Chinese mainland on international social media.
"It's possible that the individual staff member made the mistake, but this shows the company has problems in management and supervision," one user posted.
Another posted, "Please update the result of seriously handling the case or I doubt your staff members will learn the lesson."
An employee of the company reached by the Global Times declined an interview request, referring the reporter to the company statement.
The row started at a campus recruitment talk held by Dior on Wednesday at Zhejiang Gongshang University in the East China province.
At the event, a map of China without the island of Taiwan and South Tibet was displayed in slides.
When a student questioned the mistake, a staff member replied, "It may be because the picture is too small [for Taiwan] to be seen."
The excuse angered some mainland internet users, who posted that Chinese sovereignty and territorial integrity are "sacred," "inviolable" and "brook no division."
A Zhejiang Gongshang University student, who was at the site, told the Global Times Thursday that the audience applauded in support of the student who challenged the staff member.
The attendee surnamed Zhang said she did not personally know the challenger, but her friends called the action "very stern" and "very brave."
Chinese analysts noted that international brands commonly omit Chinese territories, which harms not only Chinese mainland consumer feelings, but also the brands themselves.
Companies like Dior have strict internal controls, Yang Qingshan, a professor at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing, told the Global Times on Thursday.
"If there are mistakes, it can be interpreted as they didn't think it's an important issue," he said.
Foreign brands should respect their market and consumers. They should also strengthen internal training and management to prevent similar mistakes, Yang said.
Dior's revenue is expected to grow 18.7 percent this year to $6.96 billion, in part led by the explosive growth in China, media reports said, citing a report by Morgan Stanley.