Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Is insulting Hong Kong people good for business?

Following the recent Dolce & Gabbana case, where the Italian fashion chain kicked up a storm by telling local people that only mainland visitors were allowed to photograph its flagship store in Canton Road, another international fashion chain appears to share the view that insulting Hong Kong people is a smart business move.  French chain Agnes b opened a new cafe in Tseung Kwan O with menus in English and simplified Chinese (as used on the mainland) only, triggering another wave of outrage on the local blogscape.  This kind of decision can only exacerbate the growing feeling among Hongkongers that mainland money is making them second class citizens in their own home.

Dolce & Gabbana took weeks to eventually apologise.  Agnes b has been quicker off the mark and already promised to change its menus to include traditional Chinese.

What I find ironic is that these luxury chains spend millions of dollars each year to build and promote their brand names around the world, only to discredit them through such thoughtless and discriminatory actions.  Are they totally brainless, or are these decisions taken thousands of miles away by executives with no sensitivity to the local cultures of the places where they operate?


ulaca said...

Seems to have garnered them the desired publicity.

Private Beach said...

If you believe that any publicity is good publicity - but my wife said this morning that she will never buy from them after this. I wonder how many others feel the same?

Cecilie said...

Kudos to Agnes b for their fast reaction. I heard of this yesterday morning and immediately emailed them saying mainlanders, if they have made it all the way to Hong Kong, can surely read proper Chinese characters. Their apology to me arrived this morning.

Having said that; both Agnes b and Dolce and Gabanna are private companies and should be allowed to write what they please on menus, and act in any insane way they want in their own outlets. And then we customers have the right to complain, to boycott their goods and to ruin their reputation.

Fair and square.

nulle said...

well, business is about pleasing your customers...

MNC's (multi-national corps) should hire people with familiarity of the their local area of business (ie cantonese speakers working in Singarpore/HK using trad. chinese) to avoid these messes.

I would boycott any store that uses simplified characters world-wide.