Lotte Mart’s Chinese website back online after 2 months blackout


China appears to be easing its economic retaliation
against Seoul for deploying the THAAD missile defense system on South Korean soil. Korean retail giant Lotte Mart reactivated
its Chinese website on Tuesday after being forced offline for several weeks. Kwon Jang-ho reports. Lotte Mart’s website in China is back online. For two months the website simply said it
was under repair, but now it has been reactivated and open to Chinese shoppers. It was originally taken down around the time
Chinese authorities halted operations in 74 of 99 Lotte Mart stores in China, citing failures
in safety regulations. According to analysts, the shutdown has represented
a revenue loss of some 270 million U.S. dollars over the last three months. Beijing’s measures against Lotte fueled speculations
that they were a form of retaliation on Seoul’s decision to deploy the U.S. missile defense
system THAAD to the Korean peninsula. Although the Chinese government has denied
this, it has also expressed its anger and opposition publicly over the deployment of
THAAD, saying the missile defense system hurts China’s security interests. Amid Lotte Mart being forced to close its
stores in China, other Korean companies, ranging from retail to entertainment, were all hit
by suspected economic retaliations as well. But now, hints of recovery are starting to
be seen. After a practical total ban on Korean entertainment
products in recent months, three Korean musicals are set to take the stage in China, the first
of which is scheduled to start its run as early as June. The K-Pop chart section has also reappeared
on one of China’s biggest music streaming sites, QQ music, after disappearing in March. Although there is still a long way to fully
mend damaged businesses and exchanges, it seems like Seoul and Beijing are gradually
taking steps toward recovery. Kwon Jang-ho, Arirang News.

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