Spineless: Snickers’ parent company apologizes for ad that recognizes Taiwan as a country

As tensions between China and the United States escalate to nail-biting levels in the wake of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) visit to Taipei, Mars Wrigley, makers of the Snickers candy bar, issued a very public apology to the People’s Republic of China for daring to suggest in an advertisement that Taiwan is a country.

The apology was posted to the Snickers China Weibo account on Friday.

The controversy stems from the launch of a new Snickers bar in Asia.

On its website, Snickers advertised the new candy bar as a “limited edition” snack that would only be available in the “countries” of South Korea, Malaysia, and Taiwan, according to Reuters.

That made China “hangry.”

Videos and pictures of the offending ad flooded Weibo, China’s popular microblogging platform, sparking outrage.

Mars Wrigley rushed to repent.

The company fixed the content language of its ad and stated on Weibo, “Mars Wrigley respects China’s national sovereignty and territorial integrity and conducts its business operations in strict compliance with local Chinese laws and regulations.”

But, as is all too often the case here in America, the woke mob was not appeased.

Apparently, the apology did not expressly declare that Taiwan is part of China, and anything less is an affront to Chinese foreign policy.

“Say it: Taiwan is an inseparable part of China’s territory!” demanded one Weibo user of Mars Wrigley. The comment received 8,000 likes.

For those without a Weibo account, the Global Times, a Chinese state-run media outlet, posted the confectioner’s apology on Twitter so the world could witness Snickers’ contrition.

“Snickers on Fri apologized for marking Taiwan island as a country, saying its local team has verified & aligned the official site and social media accounts to ensure accurate content,” the outlet reported.

Meanwhile, thanks to Pelosi’s pitstop in Taipei, China has begun strictly enforcing labeling laws on shipments coming out of Taiwan.

As Mars Wrigley was issuing its mea culpa, Apple was instructing its suppliers to be certain they are in complete compliance with Chinese customs regulations amid fears of increased trade barriers.

Taiwanese-made parts and components are crucial to the time-sensitive production of the new generations of iPads and other products that are to be launched this fall, and if they are mislabeled as anything other than being made in “Taiwan, China” or “Chinese Taipei,” the shipments can be held or even rejected by Chinese customs, according to a report from Nikkei Asia.

One source told Nikkei Asia that the phrase “Made in Taiwan” on import declaration forms, documents, or cartons could delay the needed shipments. Those violating the labeling rules could be fined up to 4,000 yuan ($592) or see their shipment rejected outright.

The demand from China is at odds with a request from Taiwan that all exports are labeled with the product of origin, meaning they must contain either “Taiwan” or the island’s official name, “Republic of China.”

On Thursday, shipments from Taiwan to a Pegatron facility in China were delayed to determine if the import declaration form or cartons contained either “Taiwan” or “Republic of China” labels.

Pegatron assembles iPhones, and the customs review sparked the warning from Apple, which also instructed suppliers to create contingency plans and check — and if necessary, amend — their shipping labels to avoid any further chaos and supply chain disruptions.

Shipments to Pegatron’s Suzhou facility were put under the Chinese microscope after chip industry leaders in Taiwan met with a senior Pegatron executive at a lunch in Taipei hosted by Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen.

Melissa Fine


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