People walk past a Dolce & Gabbana store at a shopping complex in Shanghai, China November 22, 2018. REUTERS/Aly Song
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Don't mess with China and its growing cadre of powerful luxury consumers. Dolce & Gabbana learned that lesson the hard way when it faced a boycott after Chinese expressed outrage over what were seen as culturally insensitive videos promoting a major runway show in Shanghai and subsequent posts of insulting comments in a private Instagram chat.The apology video, and the sharp public backlash that demanded it, shows the importance of the Chinese market and the risks of operating in it. More broadly, it highlights the huge and still-growing influence of China, a country that cannot be ignored as it expands economically, militarily and diplomatically.For Dolce & Gabbana, it could mark the end of its growth in China, a crucial market for global luxury brands that it has cultivated since opening its first store in 2005 and where it now has 44 boutiques.London-based Brand Finance consultancy estimates that the scandal could wipe up to 20 percent off the Dolce & Gabbana brand's value of $937 million, which already places it out of the top 50 global apparel brands.At the time, more than 67,000 tweets urged #boycottDolcegabbana, while Courtney Love vowed to burn her Dolce & Gabbana garb and Martina Navratilova pledged to trash her D&G shirts.Celebrities took to social media Wednesday to blast Dolce & Gabbana and said they would boycott the show, which was canceled.
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