Jewellery company says it takes ‘full responsibility’ for mistake
Austrian jewellery company Swarovski is the latest luxury fashion brand to be caught up in controversy over the description of Chinese territories.
China has long defended what it considers contradictions to its territorial claims. Recently, it has become increasingly assertive over the ways it expects foreign companies conducting businesses in China to describe the likes of Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.
On Tuesday, Swarovski publicly apologised to China for describing Hong Kong as a country.
In a statement posted on Facebook, the company said it took “full responsibility” for the error.
“We have strengthened our global brand awareness and we will continue to review all our digital platforms globally to correct any inaccuracies,” an excerpt from the statement reads.
The firm said that it had always "firmly respected" China's national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
"Considering the recent happenings in China, Swarovski takes full responsibility and sincerely apologises to the people of China, as well as to our collaborative partners and Brand Ambassador, Ms Jiang Shuying, who have been deeply disappointed due to misleading communication on China's national sovereignty," the company stated.
The news comes hours after Versace apologised after an image on one of its T-shirts appeared on social media that implied that Hong Kong and Macau were independent territories.
In response to backlash over the design on Twitter, the Italian fashion brand said it “accepts accountability” and is “exploring” ways to improve how it operates “to become more conscientious and aware”.
Donatella Versace, the brand’s artistic director, similarly apologised for the error stating that she never wanted to disrespect China.
“This is why I wanted to personally apologize for such inaccuracy and for any distress that it might have caused,” she wrote in a post shared on Instagram.
On Monday, US label Coach responded to controversy over the production of a T-shirt that failed to identify Hong Kong as part of China. It also implied Taiwan is an independent country.
In a message posted on Twitter, the company apologised stating that it “respects and supports China's sovereignty and territorial integrity".
The label claimed the design of the T-shirt design in question dates back to May 2018 year, and that it had been pulled "from all channels globally”.
As a result of the controversy, model Liu Wen announced that she had stepped down as an ambassador for the brand.
"I passionately love my mother country and safeguard China's sovereignty," she wrote in a statement shared on her Weibo account on Monday.
French brand Givenchy also apologised on social media for producing a T-shirt design that appeared to imply Hong Kong and Taiwan were autonomous countries.
The label said it that "immediate" action had been taken "to recall the inaccurate t-shirt design from all markets".
"The House of Givenchy wishes to sincerely apologise for this mistake that does not reflect the deep respect it has for its Chinese audiences throughout the world," the statement continued.