Huawei removes Nike and Adidas from its app store amid Xinjiang row

WION Web Team
Beijing, China Published: Mar 29, 2021, 03:23 PM(IST)

An Adidas showroom in Beijing Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Anger with Nike Inc and Adidas erupted on Chinese social media late on Wednesday after China's netizens spotted a statement from the former saying it was "concerned" about reports of forced labour in Xinjiang and that it does not use cotton from the region.

Chinese telecommunication giant Huawei Technologies Co has suspended downloads of sportswear brands Nike and Adidas from its app store amid the Xinjiang cotton controversy.

Anger with Nike Inc and Adidas erupted on Chinese social media late on Wednesday after China's netizens spotted a statement from the former saying it was "concerned" about reports of forced labour in Xinjiang and that it does not use cotton from the region.

Topics around the Nike statement were among the highest trending on China's Twitter-like social media Weibo on Thursday, and the social media backlash had a wider fallout.

Since then, although the Chinese government has not singled out any particular company, a nationwide consumer boycott against foreign brands -- including H&M, Nike, Adidas and Burberry -- has swept the country.

To this end, on Monday morning, Nike and Adidas apps on Huawei’s app store were not available to download.

Also read | Nike faces social media storm in China over Xinjiang statement

As of Monday, however, the brands could still be found on major Chinese e-commerce platforms such as Taobao, JD.com and Pinduoduo. And consumer demand continued to be on the higher side.

The brands’ social media accounts are still accessible, along with the Chinese version of its website.

Swedish retailer H&M was one of the hardest-hit brands in the Xinjiang boycott. A number of major Chinese tech firms have erased the clothing company’s virtual presence from their platforms.

The social media fallout comes as relations between the United States and China have deteriorated in recent years.

In the latest development, the United States, the European Union, Britain and Canada on Monday imposed sanctions on Chinese officials for alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang. China retaliated with sanctions on European lawmakers and institutions.

(with inputs)

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