EXO's Lay Ends Contract With Samsung Electronics Over One China Policy Controversy

Amid an increasing number of controversies over foreign brands that do not adhere to the “One China policy,” EXO’s Lay has terminated his contract with Samsung Electronics.

Recently in China, foreign companies have been coming under scrutiny over the way they describe China and its territories. This comes amid heightened tensions between China and Hong Kong due to mass unrest over concerns about China’s perceived attempts to increase influence in Hong Kong. It’s reported that some people in China have been scouring the websites of global companies such as popular fashion brands to see how they describe territories such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macau to make sure they are represented as part of China and not separate entities.

Versace has now apologized following criticism after the brand sold a t-shirt that listed cities and countries and appeared to imply that Hong Kong and Macau are independent territories. Actress Yang Mi ended her contract with the brand over the incident. Other companies that have apologized following similar descriptions of Hong Kong as an independent country include Coach, Swarovski, and more.

Another company under fire for portraying Hong Kong as an independent country is fashion brand Calvin Klein, which Lay is a model for, and he has been criticized for maintaining his contract with the firm.

On August 13, Lay’s studio announced through a statement on Weibo that they have looked into all of the brands that he models for. It was stated that as Samsung Electronics’s global website does not adhere to the “One China policy,” he has terminated his modeling contract with the company.

The statement explained, “Samsung Electronics, which Lay is a model for, has unclear definitions of country and region on its official global site.”

It went on to say, “The act of being ambiguous about the integrity of our sovereignty and territory has severely hurt the national feelings of Chinese compatriots. We express our regret and state that we cannot tolerate this.”

The statement went on to describe that while they welcome partners who follow the “One China policy,” they refuse companies with positions or attitudes that are ambiguous when it comes to the integrity of China’s sovereignty and territory. They then announced that Lay’s contract with Samsung’s smart phone brand has been terminated.

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