Pro-riot com­pa­nies draw ris­ing fire

Back­lash in main­land may lead to boy­cotts

Global Times US Edition - - BIZUPDATE - By Xie Jun

Com­pa­nies that are sus­pected of sup­port­ing rad­i­cal Hong Kong pro­test­ers are fac­ing a strong back­lash in the form of de­clin­ing stock prices and con­tin­ued boy­cotts launched by main­land in­ter­net users.

A re­cent ex­am­ple is Sa Sa, a Hong Kong-based re­tail cos­met­ics gi­ant pop­u­lar with Chi­nese main­land tourists. The com­pany’s shares sank on Thurs­day af­ter it was sus­pected by main­land in­ter­net users of sup­port­ing se­ces­sion­ist forces in Hong Kong. Its shares fell 7.89 per­cent to HK$1.75 ($0.2233) at Thurs­day’s clos­ing.

“Pro-ri­ots choice should be a very im­por­tant rea­son for the stock price plunge, as in­vestors worry that pro­r­i­ots stance will have a se­vere im­pact on its busi­ness per­for­mance,” Xi Jun­yang, an eco­nom­ics pro­fes­sor at the Shang­hai Univer­sity of Fi­nance and Eco­nom­ics, told the Global Times on Thurs­day.

In par­tic­u­lar, in­vestors worry that the cri­sis would lead to a boy­cott of Sa Sa by main­land con­sumers, who are nor­mally a ma­jor in­come source for the com­pany, Xi said.

The daugh­ter of Sa Sa’s chair­man is mar­ried to the son of Hong Kong bar­ris­ter Martin Lee Chu-ming, who has been crit­i­cized for us­ing “free­dom” and “democ­racy” as a cover to mo­bi­lize young stu­dents for il­le­gal ral­lies and vi­o­lent protests.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng In­dex has dived from 28,371 points on July 22 to 26,515 points on Thurs­day, as ri­ots per­sist in the city.

Be­sides stock price plunges, com­pa­nies ac­cused of sup­port­ing Hong Kong protests con­tinue to face boy­cotts from main­land cus­tomers.

Main­land ne­ti­zens have re­cently launched a boy­cott against Cousin Restau­rant. The Hong Kong-based tea restau­rant was opened by Hong Kong film direc­tor Al­fred Che­ung Kin-ting, who has been ac­cused of show­ing a pro-riot stance.

Cousin Restau­rant is­sued a Wechat state­ment say­ing it sup­ports the “one coun­try, two sys­tems” prin­ci­ple.

Tai­wan-based bev­er­age retailer Yi­fang Fruit tea has en­coun­tered a sim­i­lar cri­sis. The com­pany faced a boy­cott from main­land in­ter­net users af­ter it was sus­pected of sup­port­ing se­ces­sion­ist forces in Hong Kong, with images cir­cu­lat­ing on Sina Weibo show­ing a no­tice at one of its Hong Kong branches read­ing like a pro-riot slogan.

A 20-year-old main­land stu­dent named Gu Zhi­ran told the Global Times on Thurs­day that if she knows of any restau­rants whose man­agers have made com­ments to sup­port Hong Kong ri­ots, she wouldn’t step into those places again.

“I don’t want to help those peo­ple who sup­port split­ting China to make money in the Chi­nese main­land.”

Wang Sixin, a me­dia law pro­fes­sor at the Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Univer­sity of China in Bei­jing, said that there’s no room for an am­bigu­ous stance on the Hong Kong is­sue.

“It’s im­moral and abom­inable if com­pa­nies are op­por­tunis­tic about their po­lit­i­cal stance but at the same time want to take ad­van­tage of main­land mar­ket op­por­tu­ni­ties.”

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