Bakery disappears from Chinese delivery apps after Taiwanese leader receives gift in store
Netizens react furiously to gift given in Los Angeles branch of 85˚C
Search for a major Taiwanese bakery chain on China’s biggest food delivery apps and you won’t find it anymore. 85˚C has over 600 stores in China, but it’s apparently disappeared from Ele.me and Meituan-Dianping.
It happened after photos emerged of staff at an 85˚C shop in Los Angeles apparently giving a gift bag to Taiwanese leader Tsai Ing-wen during her two-day stopover in the United States. The gift angered Chinese netizens: The topic page “#85°C Taiwan Independence” has more than 1.7 million views on microblog Weibo, with plenty of comments condemning the bakery chain.
We haven’t received a response from Ele.me, and Meituan-Dianping declined to comment.
(Abacus is a unit of the South China Morning Post, which is owned by Alibaba -- which also owns Ele.me.)
85°C denied in a statement that the gift bag represents any stance from the company, saying it was just one employee’s impromptu gift.
The company says it supports peaceful cross-strait communications and relations, adding that it firmly supports the 1992 Consensus -- which maintains that there is only One China, but allows both sides to separately define what that means.
Chinese internet users were not satisfied with that response, because they discovered that it was only posted on the company’s mainland China website and social media accounts. The post on Weibo drew more than 20,000 comments, many lashing out at the company.
Later, reports suggested that 85°C’s Taiwan website appeared to be hacked, with pictures of Tsai on the front page. 85°C then put its site under maintenance.