China Focus: D&G products removed from e-commerce sites amid racism accusations

Dolce and Gabbana

Chinese e-commerce sites have removed Dolce & Gabbana products amid a spiralling backlash following a series of ads that were condemned as "racist" by celebrities and on social media.

"D&G should learn a lesson from the incident", he said.

Owing to its size, China is indeed a big market to lose for any brand by given its intricacies it can also be a tricky market to manage.

When South Korea employed THAAD, a USA anti-ballistic missile defence system deployed in South Korea as tensions on the peninsula were rising, China quickly responded to THAAD with a ban on tour group travel to South Korea in the spring of 2017.

The three promotional videos, which have been deleted from the company's Weibo account, feature a Chinese woman using chopsticks to eat pizza, spaghetti and meatballs, and other Italian food. In one video, the model struggles to pick up a cannolo with chopsticks, only to have the voiceover ask, "Is it too huge for you?"

Tranova joined in and shared her distaste for Dolce & Gabbana's advertising on her personal account, to which it appears Gabbana then personally replied via Instagram private message.

In a video apology on Friday, Gabbana and his cofounder Domenico Dolce said they had "reflected seriously" and were saddened by the impact of their words. The brand claimed both accounts were hacked and that an investigation into how it happened was underway.

"Once we're dead, we're dead", Gabbana said in an interview with Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera last spring. "We just didn't feel that such an apology was honest enough".

State media outlets have joined the chorus of condemnation. In a Weibo post, D&G announced that the fashion show has been postponed and apologised for the inconvenience caused.

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"It is inflicting humiliation on itself ..."

Dolce & Gabbana's ads have been the talk of the Chinese internet this week with the Italian fashion house managing to piss off an entire nation of potential customers. The post has received more than 80,000 likes and 5,200 comments.

Earlier this week, Dolce and Gabbana canceled a major fashion show in Shanghai as the hashtag #BoycottDolceGabbana was trending.

Anger over the ads was also widely felt in the Chinese Twitter-like platform Weibo, with celebrities such as "Memoirs of a Geisha" movie star Zhang Ziyi, posting critical comments about the brand, according to Reuters.

Chinese customers account for over a third of all luxury purchases, with younger buyers in particular attracted by branded goods and willing to splurge on shopping trips overseas, or increasingly, within China.

This is not the first time that D&G hit the nerve of the Chinese population.

In January, U.S. hotel giant Marriott International Inc.

But a corruption crackdown under Xi Jinping, the Communist Party's top leader, has put the brakes on conspicuous consumption, so the brands must be wary of a yawning wealth gap that has developed in China. The company has since apologized and fired the employee responsible for the post.

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