After South Korea’s Lotte Group agreed on Monday to provide land to host a US anti-missile system that Beijing sees as a threat to national security, Chinese media reported the several Chinese companies have said that they will no longer do business with the group.
The Lotte Group is South Korea’s fifth-largest conglomerate has more than 80 supermarkets in China and though the Chinese authorities did not connect any of its move to the deployment of the Terminal High-Altitude Area Defence system (THAAD), such authorities have also taken law enforcement action over the past few days against conglomerate and its 80 supermarkets the country.
Even as protesters in several cities have been calling for a boycott of the group, there has been a rapid rise in the public resentment against Lotte over the last few days.
The company was fined 20,000 yuan (US$2,900) and officials in Anhui confiscated 30 “illegal radio transmission” units from a Lotte supermarket, the Legal Daily reported on Thursday.
From a Lotte supermarket in Wuhui on Tuesday, Anhui communications authorities found abnormal signals coming, the report said.
The Legal Mirror reported that this was the first time Beijing officials had penalised a company for such an offence as in Beijing, a Lotte supermarket was fined 44,000 yuan ($6,392) on Tuesday for illegal advertising.
China opposed the deployment of THAAD, said Sun Jiwen, a spokesman at the Ministry of Commerce.
He said that South Korea’s operations should be in compliance with the law and that China would respect the rights of South Korean companies and valued economic cooperation with South Korea.
The decision to sell a golf course in Seongju county, South Korea to the military to host the THAAD system, should be withdrawn by Lotte – one of South Korea’s major retail operators in China, the state media have demanded.
While undermining China’s national security, it was “commercially unwise and morally unjust” for Lotte to make profits from China, commentary in the Guangming Daily on Thursday said.
Its shopping card programme with about 50 Lotte outlets in the province would be suspended, Jiangsu-based financial and retail group Ruixiang said in an online notice on Thursday.
At Ruixiang’s online platform and its supermarkets, South Korean products were also no longer for sale. The notice said that products from Lotte were destroyed.
“We will not bring the Chinese people any products from an immoral corporation,” it added.
His group would not sell products from Lotte. Henan-based Huilong Food also announced that it would suspend cooperation with the group, said Chen Ou, the chief executive officer of cosmetic retail platform Jumei, on his Weibo account on Tuesday.
Demanding that the group leave China, protestors gathered in front of a Lotte Mart in Jilin province, media also reported.
Claiming that police would crack down on illegal activity, the public security bureau in Nantong, Jiangsu called on protestors to remain “rational”.
A cyber attack using Chinese IP addresses had crashed the Chinese version of its website on Wednesday, Lotte Duty Free said on Thursday.
(Adapted from CNBC)