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Ya Kun Kaya Toast says sorry after calling Taiwan a country in China ad

Ya Kun Kaya Toast says sorry after calling Taiwan a country in China ad
PHOTO: Instagram/yakunkayatoastsg

Homegrown brand Ya Kun Kaya Toast has apologised after coming under fire from Chinese netizens when it listed Taiwan as a country in its promotional material in an outlet in China.

It has since issued a public apology on their website, addressing that the detail in the advertisement was a "mistake" and that Taiwan is "an indispensable part of the People's Republic of China".

According to Chinese media outlet Global Times on Wednesday (Oct 20), an outlet at Golden Eagle Shopping Mall in Nanjing, China was found to have promotional graphics that called Taiwan a country.  

In the advertisement, the coffee-and-toast specialist had listed out 10 countries where Ya Kun Kaya Toast outlets were located. This was accompanied by subtitles that said: "Our over 40 retail stores in 10 countries overseas have all been warmly welcomed."

Taiwan was included in this list alongside China, Japan and Myanmar. 

According to a staff working in Golden Eagle Shopping Mall, the shop has been closed for a few days after the mall received notification that the promotional graphic is considered "inappropriate advertising". 

The local branch of the State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) told The Straits Times on Thursday (Oct 21) that authorities in Nanjing are currently investigating before assessing if the shop can be reopened. SAMR is China's top market watchdog and is in charge of regulating areas such as market competition, monopolies, intellectual property, and drug safety.

On video platform, owned by state media Beijing Radio and Television Station, a 44-second news clip documenting the incident has gone viral with over 83,000 likes and almost 5,000 comments.

The hashtag #SingaporereRestaurantNanjingBranchListsTaiwanAsACountry has also been making its rounds. 

Additionally, photos and comments regarding the promotional graphics have been circulating on Chinese microblog Weibo. 

Ya Kun Kaya Toast is a Singapore coffee-and-toast specialist that is popular for its traditional local breakfast items like kaya toast and coffee. It currently has 16 outlets in China in cities like Guangzhou, Hangzhou and Nanjing. 

It isn't the first brand to have faced such backlash. In 2018, Japanese retailer Muji was fined $42,000 for importing 119 clothes hangers that marked Taiwan as the "country of origin".

In the same year, media reported that Swedish furniture giant Ikea came under fire after not abiding by the one-China principle and listing Taiwan as a country on its packing lists.

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