Marriott International, which previously suffered backlash in China for listing Chinese territories as countries, is now finding itself on the wrong side of a Taiwanese hotel owner for listing Taiwan as part of China.
In January, the Chinese government shut down Marriott’s local website for a week in reaction to the group listing Taiwan, along with Tibet, Macau and Hong Kong, as separate countries on its websites.
Marriott International may have thought it was taking the safe path by going on to list the hotel as ‘Taiwan, China’ on the simplified Chinese version of the booking site for members (typically used by mainland Chinese), and “Taiwan” on the traditional Chinese version (typically for Taiwanese).
But instead of keeping both sides happy, it has now incurred the wrath of RSL Corp, the owner of the Four Points by Sheraton Taipei, Zhonghe.
RSL Corp blasted its intentions to terminate its franchise agreement with the parent group in an advertisement on the front page of the local paper, Liberty Times.
Lily Cheng, a spokeswoman for the Zhonghe hotel, told Agence France Presse (AFP) that the hotel’s name would be changed and it would no longer take reservations from Marriott’s booking system.
Speaking to AFP, Cheng admitted this will have some impact on business, but maintained the the hotel’s main customers are corporates, and Taiwanese, and other booking websites.
RSL Corp’s move came just a week after Taiwanese netizens threatened to boycott another Marriott hotel – the Four Points by Sheraton Linkou in New Taipei City – for listing Taiwan as “Taiwan, China” next to the Chinese flag on its Wi-Fi login page.