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Monday, June 17, 2024

China. Free ice cream at the fair stand causes scandal for BMW

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A wave of criticism poured out on BMW in China. The manufacturer was accused of discrimination that allegedly took place at the Shanghai motor show, at a stand with free ice cream. His staff was supposed to favor foreign visitors and deny frozen treats to the Chinese.

“BMW Mini” has become the second most searched phrase on Chinese social media platform Weibo with over 93 million views. Users shared photos and videos with negative comments about the alleged incident on Wednesday.

Ice cream not for Chinese

One of the recordings shows how two employees refuse their compatriots free ice cream at the Mini promotional stand (part of the BMW concern). In the next part of the video, however, you can see how ice cream is given to a guest from the West.

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It was because of this recording, suggesting discriminatory behavior towards Chinese visitors, that BMW received a wave of criticism.

A person familiar with the matter reported that the foreigner in the video was a BMW employee. On the other hand, the stand was staffed by people employed temporarily on the occasion of the fair. They were not BMW employees, said a person who wished to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of the issue.

Ultimately, BMW Mini apologized for the incident, highlighting in a statement on its official Weibo account that it was due to poor internal management.

Western brands under the microscope

Reuters notes that this is not the first time in recent years that the Chinese pay more attention to the behavior of Western brands in their country and criticize them more often.

Such criticism sometimes escalated into consumer boycotts. In 2019, Dolce & Gabbana recorded a decrease in sales in China, which was caused by the reaction to the advertising campaign. According to celebrities and citizens who criticized her on social media, she was racist in nature. The Italian luxury brand has asked for forgiveness and said there was a “cultural misunderstanding”.

Main photo source: EPA/ALEX PLAVEVSKI Supplier: PAP/EPA.

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