With China escalating economic retaliation on South Korea over the deployment of the U.S.-led Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) missile defense system, a boycott movement against Chinese products is also arising in South Korea centered on internet users. In particular, Chinese beer Tsingtao, which has emerged as the No. 1 import brand in South Korea, is becoming the main target.
Recently, major social networking services (SNS), including Twitter, are flooded with posts that they need to confront China’s retaliation over the deployment of the THAAD with the boycott against Tsingtao. A Twitter user said, “Tsingtao is an expensive beer and we can just drink cheaper and nicer imported beer than Tsingtao.” Another internet user also said, “The government needs to check hygiene conditions on Chinese products more thoroughly, and people should neither travel China nor use Chinese products.”
As lamb skewers have recently gained popularity, Tsingtao beer has naturally become one of the drinking culture in South Korea, just like “Chimaek,” a compound word of chicken and beer. An official from E-Mart said, “Tsingtao had ranked second after Heineken until last year, but it has taken first place with around 10 percent market shares in January and February, driven by the lamb skewer fever in the nation.”
The market of China’s kaoliang liquor has also rapidly grown with the craze of lamb skewers. Its sales has shown a whopping 250 percent increase in E-Mart this year alone.