The Drum Awards Festival - Extended Deadline

-d -h -min -sec


Muji issues apology in China after campaign called out as 'culturally insensitive'


By Taruka Srivastav, Reporter

September 13, 2019 | 2 min read

Japanese retailer Muji has followed in the footsteps of Zara, Burberry & DG in offending Chinese consumers.

Muji apologizes in China after its campaign was called out as 'culturally insensitive'

Muji apologizes in China after its campaign was called out as 'culturally insensitive'

The brand has issued an apology after using the term 'French Concession' to publicise a sponsored event in one of its Shanghai stores, with a Weibo post reading: 'Urban walker — Turn right at red lights in the French Concession'.

Some Chinese consumers online have been angered by the company's language in referring to a historic neighbourhood in Shanghai as the 'French Concession'; saying it was culturally insensitive and disrespected Chinese history.

The area was previously a foreign concession in Shanghai between 1849 until 1943, until it was progressively expanded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The concession came to an end in 1943 when the French State (under German pressure) signed it over to the pro-Japanese Reorganized National Government of China in Nanjing.

Angry Weibo users said the term was one from past and one that reminded them of Shanhai's “humiliating” history of being colonised.

The brand is the latest international business to cause offence to Chinese consumers. Earlier this year, Dolce and Gabbana was forced to revoke ads and cancel a fashion show after a campaign from the designer was deemed "racist" for making fun of chopsticks.


Content created with:

More from Marketing

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +