Korea’s Lotte Runs Into Trouble in China After Angering Beijing Over Missile Deal

Next Entertainment World, Contents Panda
Courtesy of Contents Panda

Lotte, one of South Korea’s leading entertainment groups, has run into major difficulties in China after angering the Beijing regime with its role in a defense agreement between Korea and the U.S.

On Tuesday, Lotte agreed to provide a piece of land that the government in Seoul wants to use for the deployment of an American-made missile system known as THAAD. China strongly opposes the deployment of THAAD and had warned Lotte that its collaboration would have consequences.

Shortly after Lotte announced its decision to turn over the land, its Chinese website, Lotte.cn, suddenly became unavailable. Lotte said in a statement that its website had been the victim of a virus planted by hackers.

The same day, Chinese e-commerce site JD.com removed the Lotte shopping site from its platform. JD, which is partly owned by Tencent and by Walmart, blamed technical issues, according to Korean media reports.

Construction of a huge Lotte shopping and entertainment complex in the northern Chinese city of Shenyang had already been halted. Fire-safety regulations have been given as the explanation.

While retaliation by the Chinese government is hard to prove, the state-run Xinhua news agency said Lotte was “opening a Pandora’s box in Northeast Asia” with its decision to grant land for the missile system. In a separate opinion piece, Xinhua warned that “the decision could turn into a nightmare for Lotte, which depends heavily on Chinese tourists to South Korea for revenue from duty-free stores.”

The Global Times tabloid, which hews to the Beijing regime’s line, said: “Chinese consumers should become the main force in teaching Seoul a lesson, punishing the nation through the power of the market.”

Korea’s official Yonhap news agency is also reporting that Chinese streaming platforms have removed nearly all Korean content from their sites. Korean music and TV dramas, including “Descendants of the Sun” and “Running Man,” have been hugely popular in China.

In July last year, when THAAD first became a major concern, Korean entertainment companies began to feel a pushback from China. Co-productions were halted, and Korean performers, who had been rising in popularity in China, found that they were no longer welcome.

Lotte has diverse interests from retail and food to hotels, and has revenues in China of some $2.64 billion (KRW3 trillion). It operates Korea’s second-largest cinema chain, and has 11 multiplexes, with 90 screens, in China.

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  1. V says:

    THAAD has a great range monitoring everything in Russia and China. If Russia can do so in Canada or Mexico, what will America do? punishing Mexico or Canada as well.

  2. mark.l says:

    If China had contained N. Korea properly, S. Korea would have no reason to install THAAD.
    South Korea has good reasons to protect itself from N. Korea and should not be bullied by China to protect itself. China should be more active regarding N.Korea and stop bullying a company which complied with its patriotic duties.

    The only excuse China has, is to require S. Korean and the USA to give more information regarding the capabilities of THAAD.
    Furthermore, if the USA wanted to spy on China, they could have done long ago through their military bases in S. Korea.

  3. Zephon says:

    Americans almost went to Nuclear War when Russia went to put missiles in Cuba…

    I guess it would be OK for China to put missiles in Mexico as an example for what the USA does to the Chinese!

  4. Charles Edison Hammond says:

    China has already started a trade war with South Korea and other countries that try to object to their South China Sea Policy. So there is no reason for the USA to do the same types of things to China. I know for a fact that the good people in China truse the food that is imported from Korea for its quality and purity and its excellent taste. One way you can fight back is never to purchase any food that comes from China and dont purchase Chinese goods if possible.

  5. sanford pahk says:

    S. Korea should complaints to China strongly that It was N.Korea’s nuclear threats and S.Korea
    own defense agaist it. S. Korea told China that if N.Korea agreed on UN resolution, it would not
    have SAAD defens system. US should do more to push China not to do such childish action.

  6. Zaza Pensive says:

    to which i’d say if your “friends” punish you they aren’t really your “friends.

    i also agree that S. Korea should encourage relations with Taiwan.
    they may be more “friendly”.

  7. Tony Wu says:

    Perhaps it’s time for SKorea to recognize and open diplomatic relations with Taiwan if the PRC no longer wants its business.

  8. Kwangsoo says:

    This is the ways that Chinese government has been doing in Asia for a long time.

    • Chet says:

      The one is for self defense so that the 2/3 of the country air space would not be closely monitored by a Third country. Think about it will USA allows someone else to do the same without complaining or taking self defense measure?

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