ike was all set to release a new line of sneakers exclusively in mainland China that were designed in collaboration with Japanese streetwear label Undercover.
However, just before the June 14th launch date, the roll-out was abruptly scrapped and all Undercover-related products delisted due to “special reasons.”
An Instagram photo brought down the collaboration
Those “special reasons” that Nike refers to reportedly boil down to a single post made on Undercover’s official Instagram account of a photo from anti-extradition protests in Hong Kong sporting the captions “No Extradition to China” in English and “Good luck, Hong Kong!” in Chinese.
The post quickly drew backlash from Chinese Instagram users and has since been deleted.
Undercover later claimed that the post was an “individual’s opinion” and did not reflect the brand itself.
The issue has yet to properly blow up on Chinese social media, though quite a few posts can be found calling Nike “garbage” or saying that the company will face the same fate as Italian brand Dolce & Gabbana.
Foreign brands face difficulties with sensitive issues
Over the years, foreign companies have learned the importance of being hyper-aware of the feelings of the Chinese people when doing business in the Middle Kingdom.
Already this year, brands like Zara and Burger King have felt the wrath of Chinese netizens after featuring a Chinese model with freckles and showing people attempting to eat a Vietnamese-style burger with an oversized pair of chopsticks.