Spanish fashion brand Zara, are seeking to avoid being involved in the controversial protests that are happening in Hong Kong, and to do so they have issued a statement on Chinese social media, expressing their support for China’s sovereignty over the Asian financial hub.
Zara, which is owned by Inditex, the world’s biggest clothing retailer, released a statement late on Monday after Ming Pao, a newspaper in Hong Kong, asked if the closing of four Zara stores in Hong Kong on Monday was an act of showing support to a student strike, resulting in millions of Chinese social media users to comment on the matter.
In a statement on China’s Weibo social media platform, Zara stated that it expresses its support towards the “one country, two systems” policy that China rules Hong Kong through, also adding that it had not supported the strikes.
Zara became one of the top trending topics on Weibo, with the “Zara statement” hashtag being viewed more than 170 million times by Tuesday morning.
A source that is very close to Inditex said on Tuesday that certain Zara stores in Hong Kong had their opening on Monday delayed due to the staff having a tough time getting to work, with there being plenty of transport problems caused by the protests. However, this source also added that the stores eventually opened on Monday.
Thousands of university and school students from Hong Kong boycotted their classes on Monday, as they rallied peacefully for democracy.
Last weekend was one of the worst when it came to violence ever since the political unrest grew around three months ago.
When protests are taking place nearby, shops in Hong Kong have often closed their doors and waited until the protests died down.
Foreign brands have had to endure increasing pressure from Chinese consumers and regulators over the last few months, as they need to try and divert themselves from the controversy in Hong Kong and China.
Other fashion brands like Massimo Dutti and Bershka are also under Inditex’s ownership, and with the Spanish multinational fashion store having hundreds of stores in China, it is second only to its domestic market in Spain when it comes to the number of stores for the retailer.
With there being plenty of social media controversy over the protests, several Western fashion brands have been forced to clarify their positions on the matter.
Zara was criticised on Chinese social media last year for placing Taiwan, which is a self-ruled island that China sees as a break-away province, in a pull-down list of countries on its Chinese website.