Published: Tue, May 15, 2018
Money | By Bruce West

Why Gap Is Apologizing to Customers This Time

Why Gap Is Apologizing to Customers This Time

United States fashion retailer Gap became the latest giant corporation to apologise to China for selling a T-shirt with an "incorrect" map that did not feature Taiwan and other territories it claims.

It promised to carry out "more rigorous reviews" in the future.

The US company issued its apology on Weibo late Monday, saying it "respects the integrity of China's sovereignty and territory".

U.S. clothes giant GAP said it was "extremely sorry" for selling a T-shirt with an "incomplete" map of China, after it was accused of being disrespectful to the country's territorial sovereignty.

The apology was triggered by complaints from consumers reacting to pictures of a Gap-branded T-shirt posted on Chinese social media network Weibo. The fashion retailer has also pulled the product off its shelves in China and destroyed the shirts, a statement on its Weibo read.

China has engaged in a campaign this year to force worldwide companies to toe the line when it comes to Taiwan and its "One China" policy.

Earlier this month, the White House sharply criticised China's efforts to force foreign airlines to change how they described Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau on their websites as "Orwellian nonsense".

The printed map did not include Taiwan, a self-ruled island considered Chinese territory by Beijing, the capital. It also apologised for "this unintentional mistake and is now conducting internal investigations to quickly rectify this mistake". As stated by the user, the photograph of the T-shirt was taken at an outlet store in Canada.

Taiwan's foreign ministry said in a statement it was "deeply concerned" about Air Canada's move to refer to Taiwan as part of China on the booking website.

Delta Air Lines based in the US and Zara the European based clothing retailer were on the hot seat as well over issues of a similar nature on their e-commerce sites in China.

In January, Chinese authorities blocked Marriott's websites and apps for nearly a week after the company listed Tibet, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as separate countries in emails and applications.

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