Chinese star Lu Han cuts ties with watch brand Audemars Piguet over Taiwan

Lu Han had been a brand ambassador of the Swiss luxury brand since 2018.
Lu Han had been a brand ambassador of the Swiss luxury brand since 2018.PHOTO: LU HAN/INSTAGRAM

BEIJING - Chinese pop star Lu Han has cut ties with watch maker Audemars Piguet after its CEO described Taiwan as a country in an interview.

The studio of the 31-year-old actor-singer, who had been a brand ambassador of the Swiss luxury brand since 2018, released a statement on Weibo on Sunday (Sept 5) ending their partnership: "National interests are above all else. Mr Lu Han and Lu Han Studio will resolutely defend national sovereignty and territorial integrity."

Audemars Piguet CEO François-Henry Bennahmias had come under fire after referring to Taiwan as "ultra-modern, high-tech country" in a video which had been circulating online for a few months.

Last Saturday, the brand apologised in a statement in Chinese on Weibo: "We apologise for the recent misrepresentation. Audemars Piguet always adheres to the 'one China' position and firmly upholds China's national sovereignty and territorial integrity."

Lu's studio said it had urged the watch maker to apologise on global platforms in Chinese and English, but they failed to reach an agreement, which led Lu to cut endorsement ties.

A former member of K-pop boy band Exo, Lu is one of the most highly paid and influential celebrities in China, with more than 60 million followers on Weibo.