Recently Audemars Piguet lost a brand ambassador because of the long-running spat between China and Taiwan, which could lead to war of course. Short-lived war, as nobody would dare try to assist Taiwan, let’s face it.
But the bitter argument raises questions about the views of watch brand amabassadors. How do their values sit with European based, occasionally Woke, watch companies? On this occasiona AP decided that free speech trumped the CCP party line from its ambassador, but how much longer can capitalist companies hold onto such liberal values?
Here’s the AP newswire summary;
Chinese singer and actor Lu Han, a former member of popular K-pop boy band EXO, said Sunday he would cut ties with Swiss luxury watch brand Audemars Piguet after its CEO referred to Taiwan as a country in an interview.
China, which claims Taiwan as its territory, objects to any reference to the self-governing island as a country. Under the one-country policy, other countries have diplomatic relations with either China or Taiwan, but not both.
In a video circulating online, the watch brand’s CEO François-Henry Bennahmias referred to Taiwan as an “ultra-modern, high-tech country” in an interview.
Lu has been an ambassador for Audemars Piguet since 2018. A statement posted by Lu’s studio said he and his team urged the watch brand to apologize in both Chinese and English but failed to reach an agreement with the company, leading Lu to cut ties.
“National interests are above all else, Lu Han and Lu Han’s studio will defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the statement read.
CHINA RULES THE WORLD NOW
Big brands are always keen to jump onto any virtue signalling opportunity of course, but the issue of accepting that a country actually exists is something that many Swiss watchmakers are going to have to think about.
China remains a huge market for Swiss brands, as the high value products are often used to bribe officials to get things done. Cash has been more or less abolished, and that means every transaction online can be tracesd, so barter is the only solution.
There is another problem for the Swiss; the supply of China assembled parts. Some brands follow the `Swiss Made’ rule closely, which states that 51% of the watch must be made in Switzerland. That leaves 49% from elesewhere. Obviously using Taiwanese manufacturers would be very, very risky in today’s climate of fear.
Now that senile hair-sniffer Joe Biden is in the White House and China has authorised the Taliban to take over Afghanistan, (in order to obtain lithium there,) the matter of hiring brand ambassadors, letting them speak on Instagram and TikTok etc. could seriously damage the finances of any Swiss watch brand who stepped on a social media mine laid by China.