The brand has promised to deepen its employees understanding of Chinese culture and values
Feb 6, 2018 · 3 min read

Mercedes-Benz has apologized — rather profusely — for quoting the Dalai Lama in an advertisement on its Instagram page. That apparently offensive quote from His Holiness?

“Look at situations from all angles, and you will become more open.”

For finding some #MondayMotivation in the words of the Tibetan spiritual leader — who China regards as a separatist and “wolf in monk’s robes” — the luxury German automaker posted an apology on its official Weibo page earlier this afternoon:

This morning, we noticed that our company’s international social media had posted an extremely erroneous message. For this, we sincerely apologize.

Although we deleted the post as soon as possible, we fully understand how it has hurt the feelings of people in this country, including our colleagues who work in the country. For this, we express our sincerest apologies.

We fully understand and respect the feelings of our compatriots on this issue and accept criticism and comments from all parties.

Taking this incident as a guide, we will immediately take practical actions to deepen our understanding of Chinese culture and values — including for our overseas colleagues — and regulate our behavior to prevent such incidents from occurring again.

Finally, we sincerely apologize again.

While Mercedes-Benz has not allowed comments on its apology post, a lively discussion on the issue is ongoing over on the official Weibo account of the nationalistic Global Times tabloid.

“ Foreign companies do not understand our national conditions, but this is not an excuse to not deal with them,” argued one netizen.

“Just one apology and that’s it? At least give all your Weibo fans a car!” commented another.

“Why has this apology been issued only in Chinese? Why not on international social media as well?” wrote one inquisitive net user.

Meanwhile, the brand’s Instagram page has been hit with the usual deluge of angry Chinese commenters, who reliably emerge en masse following feelings-hurting incidents like these:

“Apologize please,If u still want China’s market.Use Dalai Lama’s words is not a good choice.If our advertisement use Hitler’s words,what do you think,” wrote one of these internet warriors.

Last month, international brands like Marriott, Delta, and Zara were also forced to apologize to China and the Chinese people after being exposed for listing Taiwan and/or Tibet as “countries” on their websites.

“Marriott International respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China. We don’t support separatist groups that subvert the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China. We sincerely apologize for any actions that may have suggested otherwise,” the hotel chain tweeted after being outed.


China in bite-sized portions

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China in bite-sized portions.


China in bite-sized portions

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