A month after the intense India-China clashes resulted in extreme anti-China consumer sentiments in the country, leading restaurant brand Mainland China is contemplating setting up a sub-brand called Mainland Asia, clearly distancing itself from the word ‘China’.
Anjan Chatterjee, Managing Director of Speciality Restaurants, the chain which owns Mainland China, Oh! Calcutta and Sweet Bengal, said for now the company has begun a month-long promotion called Mainland Asia, and may consider setting up a standalone sub-brand by the same name.
“While Mainland China will remain the umbrella brand and there is no change in the brand name, we may have a standalone sub-brand called Mainland Asia. We are contemplating that,” Chatterjee said.
The development has been trending on social media, with users calling it an ‘appropriate’ name change.
Industry watchers say the brand may morph into Mainland Asia in the longer term.
The development comes at a time when the restaurant industry is reeling under mass shutdowns on account of the world’s largest lockdown, with estimated job losses at two million with permanent closures and existing properties becoming non-performing assets. The few restaurants which have reopened have been barred from serving alcohol, and with restricted timings.
The India-China clashes in the Galwan valley, which left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead, led to the government banning 59 Chinese mobile applications including social media platforms TikTok, WeChat and Helo which it said was to counter any security threats posed by these applications.
Chinese brands in India across categories such as smartphones and televisions have started highlighting #madeinIndia in consumer communications across mainstream and social media, downplaying the China connection, and reinforcing their investments and employment in the country.
The anti-China sentiment was anyway simmering because of the Covid crisis and escalated with the LAC attack.
Confederation of All India Traders has already expressed “deep concern” over top Indian celebrities endorsing Chinese brands, and industry executives say many popular faces are downplaying the visibility of their endorsements for now.