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Costco removes Taiwan flag from website

U.S. retailer opens store in Shanghai next year

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A Costco store in Taiwan (photo from Costco Facebook).

A Costco store in Taiwan (photo from Costco Facebook).

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – United States retailer Costco has removed the Taiwanese flag from its website and replaced it with the name “Taiwan,” reports said Tuesday, naming the incident as a result of the latest example of Chinese bullying.

A member of the public first still saw the Taiwanese flag on the Costco website on May 30, but a later look revealed it had disappeared, the Apple Daily reported Tuesday, linking the change with plans by the retailer to open stores in China.

There has recently been a wave of companies, often airlines or hotel chains, who have given in to Chinese pressure to stop referring to Taiwan as a separate country.

In 2016, a Costco executive reportedly wrote to the Formosan Association for Public Affairs, a pro-Taiwanese organization based in the U.S., that the company regarded Taiwan as a country.

A Chinese woman living in the U.S. took a complaint about this fact to the Chinese media and demanded an apology from the company, the Apple Daily reported.

Costco is planning to open its first store in China in Shanghai next year, reports said.

The Apple Daily said it had contacted a Costco executive in Taiwan to comment on the latest developments, but the person was traveling overseas and thus unavailable for comment.