Swedish retail giant may have been targeted in China boycotts

H&M faces boycott in China over stance on treatment of Uyghurs. Picture Source: Japan Times

The Swedish retail giant, Hennes & Mauritz AB (H&M) became the biggest target in the Xinjiang-related boycott wave last year,  an opinion piece in the Straits Times said.

While many other brands apologized to the Chinese nationalist consumers for coming down so hard on the country regarding their treatment of Uyghurs being used as slave labour in Xinjiang factories, the retailer remained unrepentant for its decision not to purchase cotton from the Xijiang region.

Thus, it was grouped with many other businesses that had taken this action.

H&M Chief Executive Officer Helena Helmersson is quoted as having said in a Bloomberg article,  “We are dedicated to regaining the trust and confidence of our customers, colleagues and business partners in China,” and it appeared the company was working on their relationship with China,  but the nationalist consumers remained unforgiving.

Uyghurs picking cotton in a field in China

Said the opinion piece in the Straits Times, “while companies such as Nike Inc. and Adidas AG felt some pushback from China’s increasingly nationalistic consumers, only H&M found itself wiped off the country’s e-commerce sites, maps and social media platforms. Almost a year on, sales in the country are yet to recover, slumping 41% in the most recent quarter alone.”

Citing Covid-19 lockdowns in Shanghai, the brand also closed its flagship store in the Chinese city this year, after having opened there 15 years ago.

Sources: The Straits Times, Bloomberg, WSJ

About Jaqueline Deeon

ScandAsia Journalist • Scandinavian Publishing Co., Ltd. • Thailand

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