Ivey Publishing

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Carrefour China and the Olympic Torch Relay: Managing Corporate Crisis amid Evolving Expectations of Multinational Firms
Hung, Kineta;Wai, Candise Pong-Wa
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20 pages
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University of Hong Kong
Prior to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Chinese people were outraged by repeated interruptions of the Olympic torch relay in Paris on 7 April 2008. Soon after the incident, LVMH Group, a shareholder of the retailer Carrefour, was accused by some Chinese internet users of donating money to the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet. The rumor spread on the internet quickly, leading to calls for a large-scale boycott of Carrefour on 1 May 2008. Despite the souring public sentiment, Carrefour did not provide a consistent response to the public, even after one whole week of the crisis. The situation deteriorated quickly, with demonstrations taking place in various cities across China. Meanwhile, further rumors about Carrefour's anti-boycott promotions were circulating on the internet. How should the local management react to the public relations crisis and how can Carrefour manage its corporate image going forward?
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