A South Korean drama with actor Bae Suzy has angered Chinese social media users with a scene that features a counterfeit luxury watch with Chinese parts.
“Anna,” a new series on South Korean streaming service Coupang Play, premiered on June 24 and tells the story of a young woman who ends up living with another identity after telling several lies.
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In the second episode of “Anna,” Bae’s character Yumi tries to resell what she believes is an expensive Swiss watch that was a gift from her boss Hyunjoo.
"That watch is a brand that was involved in a famous scam 4 or 5 years ago. Didn't you know?” the store clerk tells Yumi. “The parts are from China but the screws were put in Switzerland so the watches can have that branding 'made in Switzerland/Swiss Made.' It's only worth 100,000 KRW at most but they got caught selling it for 8 million KRW to 10 million KRW."
The scene drew immediate outrage in China, with online users condemning the show for portraying their country in a negative light.
"Suzy's new drama 'Anna' controversy" became the No. 1 trending topic on Weibo on June 30. Some users even went so far as to accuse South Korea of “spreading false information” and “slandering” China.
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In response, South Korean fans mentioned that Chinese viewers may have been watching the show illegally since it is exclusively streamed on Coupang Play and not officially distributed or licensed to China.
The controversial scene, however, is reportedly based on the “Vincent & Co. incident” that made headlines in South Korea in 2006.
The brand was discovered to be creating watches that used cheap parts from China. The watches were marketed as high-end luxury items worn only by royal families in Europe. Such an image allowed the brand to quickly gain popularity with wealthy Koreans. It was eventually reported on several news outlets that the company had its watches’ Chinese parts assembled in Switzerland so that they could be labeled “Swiss Made.”
According to Coupang Play, it will not respond to the controversy since the show is only available to stream in South Korea.
Featured Image via 쿠팡플레이 Coupang Play