Swiss luxury brand Audemars Piguet is the latest to come under fire in China after its CEO François-Henry Bennahmias referred to Taiwan as “a very technology-oriented country” in a video conversation back in June. China has long maintained its stance on the self-ruled Taiwan being part of its territory, which is why C-netizens took offence over the comment that was made. Past instances has shown celebrities cutting ties with brands en masse when the issue of Chinese sovereignty is concerned.
On September 4, Audemars Piguet took to social media site Weibo to say, “We apologize for the recent incorrect statement. Audemars Piguet has always adhered to the one-China policy and firmly safeguards China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Nonetheless, some netizens felt the apology was too perfunctory. Some waited to see the response from Chinese singer-actor Lu Han who was the brand ambassador.
On September 5, Lu Han studio issued a statement to say that their side has urged the brand to make a public apology on global platforms in Mandarin and English but their repeated communication did not have an outcome. They also wrote, “Based on this, Lu Han has terminated its partnership with the Audemars Piguet brand with immediate effect. National interests are above all else. Mr. Lu Han and Lu Han’s studio resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity!””