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China's Lotte Boycott Intensifies; What Will Company Do Next?

By March 2, 2017 at 6:41 am
China's boycott of Lotte intensifies. (Photo : Getty )

China appears to have declared war on The Lotte Group as hackers shut down Lotte Duty-Free's official website. Meanwhile, various Chinese businesses have also withdrawn their support of Lotte.

Lotte Duty-Free confirmed on Thursday that hackers launched a denial-of-service (DOS) attack on its website, causing it to shut down for several hours. But a statement released by the company assured consumers that most of its websites are back online.

The incident is looked at as the latest in a series of attacks that China has launched against the company, although the Korean National Police Agency said that it would take some time before they can identify the origin of the attack.

Lotte has recently come under fire from China after the company signed an agreement with the South Korean government to hand over a parcel of land for the installation of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system.

China is vehemently opposed to South Korea's decision to utilize the missile system, claiming that it raises security concerns in their country. However, South Korea declared it's purely for defense purposes.

China's state-run media denounced Lotte's recent move and called for a boycott of the company and its products. In its recent editorial, the Global Times called on Chinese consumers, exhorting them that they're the "main force in teaching Seoul a lesson, punishing the nation through the power of the market."

It's a call that its citizens appear to be taking to heart.

Aside from the hacking incident, the Lotte Mart sections of both the Jingdong Mall and Tmall, the two biggest Chinese e-commerce sites, were shut down on Feb. 28. Lotte Mart branches also disappeared from a list of supermarkets on Baidu Waimai, an online delivery service. Other online shopping platforms are also following suit.

Lotte has a massive investment in China, operating 120 business sites and employing around 26,000 employees.The company also takes in about 3 trillion won ($2.64 billion) in sales every year. Lotte has already expressed concern about how the situation would affect the company, although a spokesman said they have yet to decide on what measures to take.

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