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China has beef with H&MINTL

China has beef with H&M

Swedish clothing retailer H&M disappeared from the internet in China over the weekend after the company decided to stop buying cotton from China’s Xinjiang region — dramatic much?!

H&M, along with other brands like Nike (NKE), Adidas, Burberry, and Lacoste, have voiced concerns and criticisms over China’s supposed persecution of Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region. After China’s state media called for a boycott of H&M, the retailer’s products went missing from some of the country’s major e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba (BABA) and JD.com (JD). The Chinese government even went so far as to remove H&M’s approximately 500 stores from map services operated by Alibaba and Baidu (BIDU) — way to hold a grudge!

This will surely cause a dent in H&M’s financials as China represents the company’s fourth-largest market.

why it matters
Despite many accusations of human rights abuses, China claims that detention camps are for job training to support economic development. And so, the world's largest fashion companies that operate in China, like H&M, must weigh business gains against ethics concerns. We still haven't forgiven Nike, after all!