6. Marriott and Delta in trouble for disrespecting China
A poorly worded customer survey by Marriott has set off a sovereignty storm for foreign firms operating in China.
ICYMI: Earlier this week, Marriott sent out a Marriott Rewards survey that listed Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, and Tibet as “countries.” Chinese netizens went nuts and Xinhua reports that regulators took up the cause.
Regulatory response: The regulators ordered Marriott’s China website and app to shut for a week, and the company has issued multiple apologies in Chinese and English, including this tweet:
Marriott International respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China. We don’t support separatist groups that subvert the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China. We sincerely apologize for any actions that may have suggested otherwise.
More: Delta Airlines is now also in trouble as it lists Taiwan and Tibet on its website.
Why it matters: Foreign firms who are seen to violate “the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China” risk massive pushback from the Chinese government and consumers.
Possible bonus: The Lunar New Year, a big Chinese overseas travel holiday, is next month. Marriott and Delta may have to offer big discounts to PRC passport holders to make amends.