THAAD deal could mean financial fallout for Lotte in China

Global Business

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South Korean conglomerate Lotte group is expected to sign a land swap deal with the nation’s government to facilitate the deployment of the THAAD  missile system.

The U.S. anti-ballistic missile system is aimed at defending the Republic of Korea against growing threats from its neighbor, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

CGTN’s Guan Yang traveled to northeast China’s Shenyang, where Lotte has heavily invested in commerce.

THAAD deal could mean financial fallout for Lotte in China

THAAD deal could mean financial fallout for Lotte in China

South Korean conglomerate Lotte group is expected to sign a land swap deal with the nation's government to facilitate the deployment of the THAAD missile system. CGTN's Guan Yang traveled to northeast China's Shenyang, where Lotte has heavily invested in commerce.
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The half-finished Lotte World commercial complex in Shenyang was designed to be the city’s new shining landmark. However, things are now looking bleak.  

The South Korean retail giant Lotte has been trying to expand its presence in the world’s most populous nation. It has earned a lot from Chinese consumers, but the giant is now struggling to juggle conflicting interests.

It is caught between its operations in China and the will of the South Korean government. Whatever happens at the end, it can be certain that the people of China won’t support a company against the country’s interests.

“It is wrong to make money off the Chinese people and, at the same time, ignore China’s interests,” Pan Qiang, a Shenyang resident, said.

“I won’t come to any of Lotte’s shopping malls if the company goes ahead with the land-swap deal,” Cai Xiaojie, another Shenyang resident, said.

Lotte has a lot at stake in Shenyang, as the company — one of South Korea’s biggest operators of hotels, theme parks and department stores — has invested big money in the city.

CGTN’s Guan Yang contacted its head office in Shenyang, but the interview request was turned down. Senior management also refused to comment on the land-swap deal.

Lu Chao, a Research Fellow of Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, is an expert on Korean studies.  

“Some people say the reason why Lotte has agreed to the deal is because the company might be under pressure from the South Korean government. I disagree. As an independent business entity, Lotte can voice its own opinions regardless of outside influences.”

The message from the Chinese people seems quite clear: if Lotte becomes officially involved in the THAAD issue, it’s likely to undo all the work it has carried out through the years to penetrate the Chinese market, putting the future business in China at stake.