South African bottled water company isn’t likely to be expanding over to China anytime soon after its name kicked up a fuss last month on Chinese social media.
Based in the city of Durban, the brand has been operating for years under the eye-catching name “It’s Not Made in China,” something that only recently came to the attention of Chinese netizens who then bombarded the company’s Instagram page with angry comments accusing the brand of racism.
In response, the company said that it was sorry for causing any offense but insisted that its name was not racist, using the following logic on Instagram:
Hi. We’re really sorry you feel so offended by the name “It’s Not Made in China”. We stick by the claim that we are not racist and we chose the name to be different. “Made in China” is something everybody is used to – “It’s Not Made in China” is different and we chose it because we wanted to do things differently. If every product had “It’s Not Made In Yugoslavia” on it – we would’ve called ourselves “It’s Not Made in Yugoslavia”. If we travelled to China and found a product there called “It’s Not Made in South Africa” we would not lose any sleep over it or feel that it was racist.
Meanwhile, on their official website, the company added that most people “see the humor in our name,” noting that “the reactions we get from attendants whenever we pay anything by card is proof of that.” It’s not clear how many of those attendants were Chinese.
Last week, a representative from the company told the South China Morning Post that they were feeling “almost bullied” into making a name change in response to the backlash, throwing out “Made in Madiba-land” as a possibility — Madiba being Nelson Mandela’s clan name.
However, at this time the brand remains “It’s Not Made in China.”