The firestorm that followed the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) kowtowing to China reflects the souring of China’s relationship with the U.S. However, it may not fundamentally change the way U.S. businesses respond to pressure from the Chinese regime.
The reason is simple: offending China’s regime can have serious business consequences. There is little risk to sales or profits from offending U.S. leaders or the American people by kowtowing to Chinese pressure.
“The price you pay for backing down to China is a week of Twitter opprobrium,” Jude Blanchette, the CSIS Freeman Chair in China Studies said in an interview on CNBC Tuesday. “Whereas the price you pay in China is the loss of market access.”
The NBA furor began when Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted his support for Hong Kong’s protesters.
That’s hardly a controversial position in the U.S., where there is widespread sympathy for the protesters who