The following is a guest post by Philip via MarketingToChina.com, edited by Key
Last week, François-Henri Pinault, the head of the French luxury group Kering, returned two Zodiac sculptures of animal heads toward the Chinese people as a gift. In fact, Pinault, as well as the head of the French businessmen delegation and French President François Hollande who came to China during the same time.
And the return of the Zodiac heads seems to arouse Chinese people’s sensitive patriotic nerve and thus caused an interesting reaction to made-in-France on Weibo and BBS such as Tianya.
The first topic that heated discussed is the contract for 60 aircrafts between China’s CAS GTA and Airbus; following is the project of French carmaker Renault who plans to set up a factory in Wuhan to produce 150,000 vehicles per year.
Most people regarded this as a decent deal for the French as they posted online:
They gave us two water fossets (the two heads were used as fountains) and it means they can make easy money. They just signed contracts for 60 planes, factory project of 150,000 vehicles capacity and cooperation with China Guangdong Nuclear, where can you find a good business like that!
The political value of this return is more than value of cultural relics
I discover that some people are paranoia. For them, if French people don’t return the stolen goods, they are robbers and if they return, that’s for show…can you just take it and say thank you? What is the use of editorials and investigations…if we can care enough about our belongings at that time, will all these things happen?
Another topic attract many eyeballs of Chinese is the realization of “Versailles perfume” formula which was developed by Marie Antoinette in the 18th century, almost the same time as the construction of Old Summer Palace, where zodiac sculptures of animal heads settled. However, their destinies are totally different. And this cause people to think deeply:
To be honest, what French people did is admirable. They can revive something used hundreds of years ago; we can also reinvent ours like Guanyao porcelain and Ruyao procelain.
Real estate is fast money, what the use of history, or anything like that? Don’t let my wife see the post, she will ask me to buy the perfume.