Recently, a Chinese brand of bottled water has encountered unexpected problems in Australia after Australian Open fans called the sales of the Chinese water at the Aussie event “unpatriotic.”
As one of the sponsors of the tennis event, Ganten is the first Chinese food and drink brand to cooperate with the Australian Open, and it should have been a great chance to expand its footprint in Australia.
However, the Aussies seemed not so happy with the Chinese bottled water. In an interview of a local TV program called “A Current Affair,” Australians said it was not very pleasant to know the water was imported from China.
The center of people’s outrage was that rather than opt for an Australian brand, organizers are selling Chinese water at Australia’s top tennis tournament.
Australians have taken to social media to express shock. “I’ll hazard a guess and say that Chinese visitors here, perhaps in town for the Australian Open, don’t come to Australia to drink Chinese water,” said host Tom Elliott of the 3AW Drive on his Facebook page.
In a statement, Tennis Australia said the Australian Open was a global event that had “a long history of partnering with international brands.”
“The Australian Open continues to expand its global reach and partnerships, which helps to grow the sport at all levels in Australia.”
“Ganten water is a premium brand that is associated with other major tennis and sporting events, including Juventus FC,” the statement said.
For most Chinese enterprises, sport and club sponsorships have become a key way to expand their business overseas. “Sports have a preference, and it doesn’t have boundaries,” said Zhang Qing, a senior sports commentator, adding that sports transcend race and culture.
However, the lack of localization during marketing has had an undesirable effect, Zhang said, suggesting Chinese enterprises learn to communicate in the most appropriate manner and integrate their products into local cultures.