Bubble tea brawl: Taiwan brands face mainland boycott over Hong Kong gesture

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Bubble tea brawl: Taiwan brands face mainland boycott over Hong Kong gesture

BEIJING (Reuters) – Internet users on the Chinese mainland have blacklisted popular bubble tea brands from Taiwan after a Hong Kong franchise urged solidarity with street protesters in the Asian financial hub.

The online furor began when Yifang Fruit Tea, a maker of the tea-based drink, closed one of its Hong Kong shops for a day and put up a sign that said in Chinese: “Stand together with Hong Kongers”.

Photos of the sign circulated on mainland social media this week, angering users who accused the firm of backing Hong Kong independence. Calls for a boycott spread to other Taiwanese bubble tea brands like Gong Cha, HeyTea, CoCo and A Little Tea.

Yifang and the others were blacklisted by users of China’s microblog Weibo. A white list promoted “good” brands.

“Rest assured, I won’t spend another cent on you. Yifang is rubbish,” a Weibo user named ProfiteroleK wrote in a comment that received more than 1,500 likes.

Hong Kong is facing its worst crisis since returning to China from British rule in 1997, as sometimes viole

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