Perhaps the Web is mighter than previously thought

In a former post, I questioned the effectiveness of the online uprising in protest of a Starbucks in the Forbidden City. However, Starbucks announced at the end of last week that it is closing the shop. The reason stated is that the Forbidden city has decided that it will take over management of all commercial shops in the compound.

Considering that the online attacks subsided six months ago, it is surprising that this development happened now, but it is quite likely that the delayed change in policy at the Forbidden City and the subsequent departure of Starbucks is merely a way for all parties to ‘save face.’ By waiting six months, both the Forbidden City management and Starbucks can avoid looking as though they have directly bowed to online pressure. However, it would be hard to deny that the online campaign had some effect on the decision.

This result does indeed indicate that the Web is an important influencer on business decisions in China…certainly more influential than this writer previously thought.

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