2-6-18 7:49 AM EST | Email Article
By Wayne Ma 

Hong Kong

Mercedes-Benz is the latest foreign company to come under fire for offending Chinese sensibilities -- this time for a social-media post quoting the Dalai Lama.

The luxury car brand unit of Daimler AG pulled the Instagram post and issued an apology after coming under attack on Chinese social media and from state-media outlets.

The Dalai Lama fled from the Chinese province of Tibet to India following a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959, and is considered an "anti-China separatist" by Beijing.

The quote from the Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, was included in a "MondayMotivation" Instagram post. Instagram is banned in China but can be accessed through virtual private networks.

The quote, which accompanied an image of a white Mercedes coupe, said: "Look at the situations from all angles, and you will become more open."

Mercedes said the Instagram account posted "extremely wrong information."

"Although we deleted the relevant information as soon as we could, we know this deeply hurt the feelings of the Chinese people and also our colleagues who work in China," the German auto maker said in a statement Tuesday. The statement didn't mention the Dalai Lama.

Daimler didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mercedes sells more cars in China than any other country. Daimler's total sales in China, which includes the Mercedes brand, accounted for about 11% of its EUR164.3 billion in revenue last year, according to company statements.

Last month, brands including hotel giant Marriott International Inc. and Delta Air Lines Inc. found themselves in Beijing's crosshairs after they listed regions such as Tibet and Taiwan as independent countries rather than territories.

The incidents led to probes by Chinese authorities. Marriott was forced to temporarily suspend its website in China, and it and other offenders were asked to make public apologies.

Write to Wayne Ma at wayne.ma@wsj.com

 

Corrections & Amplifications

This article was corrected at 1336 GMT because an earlier version incorrectly stated the revenue was EUR16.3 billion. Daimler AG's revenue last year was EUR164.3 billion.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

February 06, 2018 07:49 ET (12:49 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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