U.S. Fears Mass Boycott as Chinese Turn to Homegrown Brands


Posted by Ed 3 mths ago
When a Chinese automaker set out to find a celebrity endorser for its new electric cars earlier this year, the talent agency it tapped suggested Captain America actor Chris Evans. Signing up one of the stars of Avengers: Endgame, the highest-grossing film of all time, would be perfect for a splashy global ad campaign, the agency figured.
The proposal got a hard pass.
“They looked at that and said, ‘We’ve got lots of Chinese investors. It’s too risky for us to invest in Captain America during this trade war,’ ” says Michael MacRitchie, founder of Sydney-based MGI Entertainment. The carmaker plans to go with a Chinese celebrity, he says, declining to name the company because deliberations are private.
Even before Chinese retailers stripped NBA merchandise from their shelves in retaliation for a league executive’s public support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, a yearlong trade war has stoked a surge in Chinese nationalism and anti-American sentiment that’s increasingly bleeding into marketing decisions and consumer buying habits.
Companies such as Apple Inc. have seen market share in the country dwindle. And American brands including Coach and Calvin Klein have rushed to issue public apologies after some of their products ran afoul of Beijing’s political sensitivities.

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