Over the past few months, a series of anti-Japan protests begun in China and Hong Kong after Japanese activists landed on an East China Sea island called Diaoyu by the Chinese and Senkaku by the Japanese, and which is a subject of territorial dispute between the two countries.
Nissan was the first to acknowledge that its sales in the world’s biggest market might have been hurt by the Chinese reaction to the incident.
The carmaker's Chief Operating Officer Toshiyuki Shiga told reporters that the Chinese authorities have advised his company, which is the best-selling Japanese carmaker in the country, to reduce its promotional activities.
“Sales in China were already slowing, and this may accelerate the slowdown”, executive director of Tokyo-based Ichiyoshi Asset Management Co. told Bloomberg.
Li Bing, a 34-year old Chinese engineering business owner, is one of the country’s citizens expressing his anti-Japan sentiments: “Germany and American brands are all acceptable, but definitely not Japanese ones. All my friends are boycotting Japanese brand stuff.” He added that they wouldn’t buy them “no matter how good the quality and pricing are”.
On the other hand Zhu Fushou, general manager of Nissan’s local partner Donfeng Motor Corp., said that the protests may have a less severe impact on sales than expected: “There will be definitely be some sort of impact, but I believe Chinese consumers are a lot more rational now.”
By Andrew Tsaousis