Why American Companies Keep Caving In to China | Fast Company

Why American Companies Keep Caving In to China | Fast Company


– What do Instagram, Lady Gaga, and the letter N have in common? They’ve all been banned in
China for political reasons. Maybe even this video
will be banned in China. With an estimated GDP of $14 trillion, China has the power to
allure American companies which want in on the sizeable market. And, if they want a slice of the pie, they have to play nice. That means placating China politically so they don’t end up in
censored oblivion with the rest. So time and time again American companies have folded to China. This time, Chinese and American ideals are at loggerheads over basketball. The geopolitical firestorm was
sparked from a single tweet from the manager of the Houston Rockets, who voiced support of
the Hong Kong protests. It’s ballooned into a
battle of ideologies, of territorial nationalism
versus freedom of speech. But China has the upper hand. It’s pulled NBA games from the state-controlled broadcaster CCTV and from the streaming service Tencent, and it’s promised to punish the NBA for slighting its values,
threatening retribution. – What this speaks to is the fragility of the Chinese government. It really does reveal a
deep-seated lack of confidence within the Chinese leadership
about their own legitimacy. – The reality is the overblown
reflex is nothing new. Experts used to talk about the 3 Ts: Tibet, Taiwan, and Tiananmen,
the touchy territorial taboos. When foreign companies
imply that these regions are their own autonomous states,
China is quick to punish. Take airlines. All the major U.S.
carriers have gotten flack for listing Taiwan as a separate country on their dropdown menus, so did Marriott Hotels, for
listing Taiwan and Tibet. Mercedes-Benz was disciplined
for quoting the Dalai Lama on an Instagram post. – Oh oh oh, yeah, no no,
we don’t wanna go there. Talking about the Dalai
Lama doesn’t go over well with the Chinese. – The what? – In the entertainment world, China often gets to
shape Hollywood content and retaliates if it doesn’t get its way. For a long time, Brad
Pitt was banned from China for starring in “Seven Years in Tibet.” Oh, and so was Winnie the
Pooh, for other reasons. – No, no, no, no, that’s
definitely off limits. Winnie the Pooh is illegal in China because some Chinese students said he looked like the Chinese president. – Oh, come on, that’s ridiculous. – What’s more astounding than the dramatic
reactions and the sanctions is how quickly and cooperatively Western companies cave to China. Now, the semi-autonomous
region of Hong Kong has become another sensitive
geopolitical subject after months of protest about
a proposed extradition bill. Cue: more yielding to China. Luxury fashion brands have
issued these fawning apologies after designing T-shirts listing Hong Kong as a separate nation. And e-sports company Blizzard
Entertainment banned a player who called for the
liberation of Hong Kong. The fear of alienation
from the Chinese market is remarkable. With so much revenue at stake, it’s simply bad business
to put principles first. Take the NBA, which is
incredibly popular in China. The streaming partnership
between the NBA and Tencent is reportedly worth $1.3 billion. Tencent’s NBA audience was
more than 490 million in 2018. And, as a whole, it’s estimated that the NBA makes $4 billion a year from this Chinese partnership. That’s not to mention
lucrative sponsorship deals that keep NBA stars submissive to China. – When you’re misinformed or you’re not educated about something, and I’m just talking
about the tweet itself, you never know the
ramifications that can happen. – But other players and politicians on both sides of the aisle have spoken out against
kowtowing to China. – And some of the NBA’s
biggest players and owners who routinely exercise their freedom to criticize this country lose their voices when it
comes to the freedom and rights of the people of China. In siding with the Chinese Communist Party and silencing free speech, the NBA is acting like
a whole-owned subsidiary of that authoritarian regime. – The Vice President is also taking a shot at athletes and coaches
who’ve used their platform to speak out on civil rights
and gun violence in America. Still, human rights abuses
are flagrant in China. A million Uygur Muslims are reportedly in concentration camps
in Xinjiang province, where the NBA set up a training academy. Is it time for American companies to take ethical stances on free speech? They may no longer have a choice. – Companies are gonna have to
be aware that this NBA issue has elevated the issue of
Chinese economic coercion into the popular consciousness in a way that it never has been before. – One solution is for
multinational companies to form coalitions. – What they fail to recognize
is that if they were to unite, they would have significant
leverage over China. If the airline industry
had united and said, “We are going to recognize Taiwan “in any way that we see fit,” what is Beijing going to say? They’re gonna tell all
international airlines that you cannot have access to China? We’re going to cancel all of your routes? – But, naturally, companies
are going to compete with each other to strike that
lucrative deal with China. So, China knows it can get away with it. Ultimately, it’s hit a
nerve for the Chinese and exposed some home truths for the U.S. China’s response to Pence? Americans need to “look
themselves in the mirror “and get their house in order” before pointing the finger at China. This is a deeply nuanced issue, rooted in centuries of history, without a clear-cut answer. – Well, you know what they say. You gotta lower your ideals of freedom if you wanna suck on
the warm teat of China. – And, if it wasn’t clear, “South Park” is definitely
banned in China.

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About the Author: Oren Garnes

45 Comments

  1. Red China is an oligarchic, totalitarian state, period. That's true of all Red Communist states– all are bloody monsters. Lenin said he'd change communism to Communism, & he sure did. Mao spawned Pol Pot, & the beat goes on…

  2. Business conduct requires political involvement. Take a good look at what the Chinese government does. As long as it is not a separatist company, it can generally develop in China. The United States does not do business the same. "National security" has always been the standard that the US government has decided not to even have.

  3. So let me get this straight, you have to insult our leader as a bear and support for seperatism and violence against my nation, because it is your principle? and we have to give money to you and say nothing, otherwise we are cry babies? By the way, your own government doesn't even recongize taiwan as independent state.

  4. lol America is scared cause they were the only one who can push people around due to their economic power such as the Iran sanctions or Cuba you name it
    but now there's another huge market AKA China can use the same strategy
    feel butthurt ?

  5. Woke Westerners are making something out of nothing. You guys took away Donald Sterlings NBA team away from him because he said something about blacks. So if you want to play in China guess what you play with Chinese rules. If you play in the US you play with American rules.
    So Donald Sterling isn't "freedom" of speech.
    Yet some NBA manager is? freedom of speech.
    Pure bs and double standards.

  6. Actually Yes if all airlines unite all airlines will be banned.. this is an authoritharian state. China prioritize its value of believe over money.

  7. The freeedumb fighters in Hong Kong
    Journalist Hit by Petrol Bomb at Hong Kong Protest
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WjpG-wehNOE
    HK police officer hospitalized after neck cut by rioter
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q1XQ-Yk2SGc
    Hong Kong bomb squad robot detonates suspected bomb
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufBmNrWA7wE
    Former America colonel smuggled ammunition to Hong Kong
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbdCuId7BMQ
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q68_rA4qp70
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8e8ZJQ2hzw
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9X-ZKAhVR5U
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmoMGkEYDTM
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYXnPxoNgC8
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5PlPNCLvTE
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pTc2wxQHiIQ
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FW3Dczp9L_E
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfUiJbFRqFo
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SYXZPyb4ksk
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0aJqwX0Kpw4
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HYXnPxoNgC8
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1LMf51_x3uU
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LzOFTiVTcT4
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BGz08RbHiQE
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=niSWw8sfbVo
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FERPrgIF2Qc&t=1s
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOqfjJJUxhI
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4pktbgDbT0
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adGBLyWGI1s
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bk4P1oeItOA
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eY-nWT1bdhU
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TG8aF4o37Zg
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yUGPIeE9kMc
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkShSujdao4
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q9fd2m6su1o
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiMlhjfG2g8
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zMm_7jb3Cds&t=4s
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4pT7XpKmZjs
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7YN9OPrc-0
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcw7lcZA7SE
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFwGqF3QlVc
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UyYgNDQ0XMU
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SONBMw7sJgY
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWhnwCxSQcY
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDAuZCTlkAY https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AXzWSx05HFU&t=9s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NypYTj67Kcw&t=54s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rD70hG6KW1o&t=39s https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUuBWVsdqBA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7AmFZQc57G0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnpS32wXHDs https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1RPtu543BU8&t=138s
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6htCrgVKVe0

  8. Everybody makes a big deal of South Park banned… honesty not a single of my chinese friends watched it before or even heard of it…. it’s really just a way for South Park to gain some attention domestically.

  9. CCP as Criminal Corrupt Propaganda belong CITIC & BANK OF CHINA, is less than 1/3 of all territories stollen by PLA Politburo from Beijing:
    Hans as dogs eater have nothing to do with Tibetans or Uyghurs/Kazskhs locals! not same people, not same lands!

  10. How would Americans think if Fashion companies list Texas as a separate country? All Chinese Tech companies are banned in US. And US Government recognise Taiwan is part of China also.

  11. We have to make a decision based on the cost of losing China vs. the cost of keeping China. The cost of keeping it is the highest right now. If they want to play, they need to play fair.

  12. As a Chinese, I will also stop watching the NBA after they supporting splitting up my country even when I can have access to it, no matter how much I love it.

  13. https://youtu.be/LVeKbEgn50o

    It does not matter how great you become or advanced if in today's times, you destroy other countries, take their natural resources, bully them, conquer them "legally", etc…

    China is such a great country, a beautiful country, beautiful language, amazing history, food and culture. China has contributed to the world a lot…

    …but as of today, 2019, the China of today breeds so much hatred from a lot of nationalities. Not only because of how crass Mainland Chinese has become, but also because as a nation, you have zero morals.

    You are destroying all your Asian neighbors. You are destroying the world with your "business practices".

    …and you don't care if you are scum, with no morals and ethics just as long as you get what you want.

    That is why, no matter how much you become a world power, the world hates you.

    Everyone is only using "Made in China" because there's really no more choices. The US made it so. Your corporations that transferred businesses to China empowered them. US created bully that they cannot handle.

    What kind of future for the world with China as the world power? Probably the world wouldn't even know that the poorer Asian countries are already occupied by the Chinese.

    China intends to wipe out the world's races. Most people in the West don't even care that their actions are enabling them. Most people in the West still worship and support the Chinese economy that enables them to conquer the surrounding Asian countries and destroy their natural resources.

    You only have to look at how China has already eliminated a lot of minority races in their country.

    Also, you only have to look at HongKong. If they can't win against China, being an important economic hub in the world, what of us, other Asian countries? Chinese military wouldn't even allow us to fish the seas of our countries!

  14. https://youtu.be/LVeKbEgn50o

    America will soon have no more power. See? They didn't even do anything to protest against China when they first started occupying the seas. The US is so fearful of angering China.

    Greed triumphs the future of the world.

  15. China is on its way becoming larger consumer market than the US, producing affordable goods for the world, and to boot is starting to lead in tech innovation. If this trio doesn’t get you heart pumping fast then you are true communist.

  16. These companies choose to survive or destroy themselves.

    Just like how Nike does not promote jihadi clothing and Ikea doesn't sell suicide bombing kits, these companies too do not promote politically provocative merchandise and follow the party line, and allowed to prosper. While those that don't, face extinction, annihilation, obsolescence and crushing poverty.

    Today, China can help you choose which company to make big bucks, and they can choose what time and date the CEO of Intel or the Editors of the Financial Times die of a heart attack, or when and how their families die.

    Many Americans are rushing to make money in China, and those who haven't will be left behind mired in increasing debts and poverty while their neighbours get rich and powerful

  17. In the case of Hong Kong, the issue is not even ideology; it is willful ignorance of Americans about Hong Kong and deliberate misinformation by the Western media.

  18. Well welcome to the world of diversity and freedom of expression. Why do u think that ur morality is only rigth one for all, and why china cant show their anger expressions when NBA are getting involved into their polical issues and when ur mr. Pompeous running around the world barking on china.

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