Li Ning, a Chinese sportswear brand, recently launched a new product. However, in the new line, there are winter clothes that according to some Chinese netizens are very similar to the World War II military uniforms worn by the Japanese army. The company has been subjected to a storm of public opinion that claims the line has humiliated China. Despite Li Ning’s media release of an official apology, the company’s stock price continued to fall. (Video)
Sina Finance said that in Li Ning’s new autumn-winter collection, there is a green army jacket with a green hat that Chinese netizens suspect was inspired by Japanese military uniform. The brand was criticized for “insulting China.”
On the morning of October 19, Li Ning posted an article on Weibo apologizing for the incident. The post said, “Recently, there has been a discussion on the internet about an item from the ‘Following the Dream’ collection and we are very concerned about this. We sincerely apologize for the design causing any misunderstanding and concern for everyone.” Li Ning also explained that the controversial “flying hat” was designed based on ancient Chinese helmets, outdoor protective hats, and cotton hats.
On the same day, Hu Xijin, former editor-in-chief of the Global Times, posted on Weibo,“I don’t believe that Li Ning is deliberately copying Japanese military uniforms. Such an intention is too crazy. It’s commercial suicide, where’s the sense in that? But the style of that outfit is undeniably misleading.”
Hu added, “Once the public has formed a certain impression of a brand, it is very difficult to erase it. The loss from removing this design from the collection will be much smaller than the loss caused by the public turning its back to the brand”.
However, the comments related to Li Ning’s design insulting China are not going to stop any time soon.
Epoch Times quoted a netizen, “I always thought that Li Ning was the light of domestic goods. Turns out the senior leaders are juniors in Japan. I can’t accept it, so I will buy other domestic products.”
Xie Zhiying said, after Li Ning Company issued an apology statement, Li Ning’s share price continued to drop to 6.45% on October 19, closing at $6.74 per share, total market value is $17.68 billion.
Li Ning has always presented itself as a “national brand.” It is not surprising that it has always been regarded by China’s official media as a “national enterprise” and a “domestic fashion brand.” ” Therefore, it is difficult to imagine that it could allow such a design “accident” to happen and put the brand in a situation where it had to face a storm of public opinion as well as being labeled as a brand that insults China.
According to The Epoch Times, due to the propaganda incited by the Chinese regime, nationalism is on the rise and there are more and more controversial cases related to “insulting China” and “Japanese spirit.”
The Swedish clothing manufacturer H&M was boycotted in China in 2021, supposedly because it released a statement expressing concern about forced labor in Xinjiang and not using cotton produced in Xinjiang as raw material. Following H&M, international sportswear giants such as Nike, Adidas, and other EU, US brands have become targets. Under public pressure, many mainland artists announced ending cooperation with brands like Nike.
At the same time, the official Chinese media has promoted famous domestic brands such as Li Ning, and these domestic brands have also made a lot of money with the backing of the CCP.