Marriott and Delta learn tough lessons on importance of localization

Marriott and Delta learn tough lessons on importance of localization

China has shut down the Chinese websites of Marriott International for a week, after the firm listed Tibet and others as separate countries.

US -based hotel corporation Marriott International, who categorized Chinese territories as countries in a mail questionnaire, was ordered to remove all related content from its website and mobile app Wednesday.

The Shanghai office of China's Cyberspace Administration announced the temporary shutdown of the Chinese website and the Chinese app of Marriott for a week as the hotel group undergoes investigation for violating Chinese advertising and cybersecurity law.

He added that the minimum requirement of any company conducting business in the country was "to respect China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, abide by China's laws, and respect the feelings of the Chinese people".

Marriott has issued an apology and amended the online questionnaire, which asked members of the chain's customer rewards programme to list their country of residence, giving Tibet, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan as possible options.

Earlier the Civil Aviation Administration of China demanded an "immediate and public" apology from the United States carrier along with an investigation into how the mistake happened.

China annexed Tibet in 1950, although Beijing has long claimed the Himalayan region has been an indivisible part of China throughout history.

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China, emboldened by its growing economic and geopolitical influence, is showing less tolerance of what it sees as violations of its political bottom line by foreign companies.

The original post, by Weibo user Zhongjusaodi, had called the survey "disgusting" and questioned the intelligence of Marriott's Greater China employees.

Beijing considers the four regions to be Chinese territory.

"Unfortunately, twice this week, we had incidents that suggested the opposite", said Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriott International in a statement.

Marriott also "liked" a post made by a group supporting a separatist Tibet. While Marriot now has more than 100 hotels under its different brands scattered across the country, it is keen as well to profit from swelling numbers of people from China travelling overseas.

Former colonies of the United Kingdom and Portugal respectively, Hong Kong and Macau are Special Administrative Regions of China.

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