Lu Han cuts ties with watch brand over Taiwan

BEIJING • Chinese pop star Lu Han has cut ties with watchmaker Audemars Piguet after its chief executive officer 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 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 Francois-Henry Bennahmias had come under fire after referring to Taiwan as an "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 watchmaker 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.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 08, 2021, with the headline 'Lu Han cuts ties with watch brand over Taiwan'. Subscribe