China-friendly businesses in Taiwan face risk of boycott by locals

A PTT user said that the Yi Fang Tea outlet near his office saw long queues of customers vanished after the boycott began.
A PTT user said that the Yi Fang Tea outlet near his office saw long queues of customers vanished after the boycott began.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

TAIPEI - Businesses in Taiwan that are seen to be China-friendly face the risk of being snubbed by many locals. Here are some examples of such businesses:

1. Want Want Group-owned businesses

- Media: The China Times, CTi News

- Snacks including rice crackers

The boycott against Want Want Group and all its subsidiary businesses began in 2012, when chairman Tsai Eng-meng said in an interview with the Washington Post that the Tiananmen protests on June 4, 1989 in Beijing did not end in a massacre and "not that many people died".

He added that he looked forward to the reunification of Taiwan with mainland China.

Former Tiananmen student activist leader Wang Dan posted on Facebook about the interview, calling for the public to boycott Mr Tsai's businesses.

His call was echoed by some Taiwanese democracy activists and publishers, and supported by many Taiwanese who vowed not to buy the popular Want Want senbei rice crackers, which were once also a staple in offerings for local deities.

2. 17 bubble tea franchises, including TrueDan, Gongcha, Chatime and Yi Fang:

These bubble tea shops were listed by numerous netizens last year on various social media sites, including Facebook and PTT, the largest terminal-based bulletin board system in Taiwan.

Behind this campaign were mainly younger Taiwanese who shared social media posts on which franchises to stop patronising.

The bubble tea shops were targeted after they posted press releases that referred to Taiwan as "Taiwan, China" or expressed views that put China in a favourable light.

A PTT user posted on the site in September 2019, saying that the Yi Fang Tea outlet near his office saw long queues of customers vanished after the boycott began.

3. Wu Bao-chun bakeries

Award-winning baker Wu Bao-chun, who owns bakeries of the same name, was criticised when he said he was born in "Taiwan, China" and he was "proud of being Chinese", in a press statement released in December 2018 shortly after his first bakery in China opened.

An opinion piece in Taiwan News said: "Greed has got the better of him. He wanted to have his cake and eat it. But things haven't gone to plan and it looks likely that the bread from Wu Pao-chun's bakeries is going to taste pretty stale to customers in both countries from now on."

4. News outlets with China-friendly views

- United Daily News

- EBC News, a satellite cable news channel operated by Eastern Television.