Mitsubishi dropped its Blizzard esports sponsorship following the Hong Kong fiasco

    
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Oh no, evidence!

Were you thinking Blizzard was going to just coast into BlizzCon as if its “international incident” hadn’t gripped the whole damn industry for a few weeks earlier this month? Maybe hold that thought, as The Daily Beast reports tonight that at least one company has broken fianancial ties with Blizzard: Mitsubishi Motors Taiwan canceled its sponsorships of Blizzard’s esports events.

According to the publication, Mitsubishi spokesperson Erica Rasch confirmed that the company had halted the partnership two days after the Blizzard’s choice to publicly punish professional Hearthstone esports player Ng “blitzchung” Wai Chung of Hong Kong as well as two Taiwanese commentators for a pro-Hong Kong protest during a post-match interview on stream.

The Daily Beast had been tipped off by Redditors who spotted the missing Mitsubishi logo weeks ago, but this is the first confirmation we’ve had that it was intentional and seemingly linked to Blizzard’s decision. The Hearthstone event at which the incident took place, we’ll note, was held in Taipei City, Taiwan.

The whole mess made it to mainstream media and US politicians as angry gamers began a boycott over the perception that Blizzard was censoring gamers at the behest of the Chinese government – a perception Blizzard’s follow-up statements did little to amend. The company has canceled or postponed several events in the weeks following its decision, but BlizzCon is still set to go on this weekend, as are anti-Blizzard protests.

We’ve covered the Blizzard Hong Kong fiasco extensively since it blew up on October 8th; you can get caught up on all of our coverage right here.

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mysecretid

Note that this is Mitsubishi Taiwan.

Hong Kong and Taiwan are both under threat from the Chinese Communist Party’s so-called “One China” initiative.

If the Chinese leader, Xi Jinping, succeeds in contravening the intent of the Sino-British Joint Declaration, and the democratic status of Hong Kong law, bet money that the also quasi-independent (in fact, if not in presentation) Taiwan will be next in the CCP’s sights.

This is probably why Taiwan was so quiet about withdrawing support from Blizzard; it’s not practical to risk angering the CCP more than is unavoidable. While Mitsubishi is owned by Japan — historically, a foe of China — Japan is unlikely to have the strength of allies necessary to stand against overt Chinese disapproval.

With the US government turned inward, and mired in heightened levels of disarray, those nations who would stridently oppose blatant power-grabs by the CCP are thus weakened.

I suspect Xi and his people sense this weakened status, and it’s why they attempted to change the law regarding HK when they did.

If the autocratic Xi succeeds with HK (and he may well — US foreign policy strength is … inconsistent … at best right now), Taiwan would be next on the list for the “One China” initiative.

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Alatar

I’d say that’s a pretty fair assessment of the situation.

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TherecDaMage .
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mysecretid

Your citation is from March 2018; it predates the current crisis, and its subsequent developments. Also, your sarcasm fashions a strawman argument, at best. I was talking about potential geo-political factors in play, not economic ones.

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TherecDaMage .

I like that you believe Mitsubishi is actually against China and would value being independent over continuing to increase profits every year by growing the Chinese market. Something they’ve been doing still to this year if you look at their profits from the market earlier in 2019. However I am more jaded that a company that big would sacrifice huge sums of cash if they can get away with it.

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TherecDaMage .

Good job Mitsubishi. You’re so brave. Doing this so quietly that it takes Redditors weeks later to notice. Not even releasing a statement saying which side of the issue your company stands on.

Better than nothing I guess.

micedicetwice
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micedicetwice

Or maybe, just maybe, there was actually a totally different reason for them to do so and this hype around it is total bullshit players want to believe in.

The company declined to comment further, and Blizzard did not respond to requests for comment.

But hey, one can believe, amirite?

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Armsman

Um, from the article above:

According to the publication, Mitsubishi spokesperson Erica Rasch confirmed that the company had halted the partnership two days after the Blizzard’s choice to publicly punish professional Hearthstone esports player Ng “blitzchung” Wai Chung of Hong Kong as well as two Taiwanese commentators for a pro-Hong Kong protest during a post-match interview on stream.

rahkeesh
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rahkeesh

Believe it or not they don’t really care about english speakers crying over their ability to slag China or not. This is about doing business in a country under threat of invasion and annexation by China that sees common cause in HK. Its an action aimed squarely at that local market, while the many other regional divisions of Mitsubishi, an originally Japanese company, ignore the issue.

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Armsbend

They should score press points instead? Gloating would be a better option?

Okay.

They found something they had a problem with and quietly exited. I pray everyone would act in this manner – rather than grandstanding about their brave choices in life.

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TherecDaMage .

But we don’t even know what their problem was. Some people on Reddit and Massively seem to think it was in support of the protestors. Others point out that they do business on both sides so it may not have been a statement after all, just a “we’re not risking our money with China or other countries over this incident so we’re out”. Would have been at least nice to know they support HK.

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Armsbend

We don’t have to know what their problem is – that is for Mitsi to decide.

Reading the MOP article fully though – Bree made so such assumptions on the reasoning behind the cancel. She reported another article and put in some past events.

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Bruno Brito

Note that this is Mitsubishi Taiwan.

Hong Kong and Taiwan are both under threat from the Chinese Communist Party’s so-called “One China” initiative.

They dropped the sponsorship. That’s enough for a company in the crosshair.

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Anthony Clark

GOOD!

Take note Blizz!

FREE HK!

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Bruno Brito

.

everything-is-going-ooixw0.jpg
Techno Wizard
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Techno Wizard

How embarrassing, Blizz. Free HK!

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Marty Woods

I imagine Blizzard might be taking note from the Chinese government on how to suppress free speech and expression for this years Blizzcon .

Its going to be an interesting weekend .

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Danny Smith

“Its just going to blow over in a week” said the Blizzard diehards.

-granted yeah i expected it too but for more cynical reasons than brand loyalty but boy did Blizzard just screw themselves over this time around.

MurderHobo
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MurderHobo

It must have been very lucrative, straddling those two currencies. Now they may have to pick a side.

The way I see it, Blizzard is a company looking for an owner. It’s been through all the pre-stages for a buyout. Founders have retired out. Old-timers still holding on to glory-days benefits have been pink slipped. New corporate management from the carving-up-companies industry has been put in place. They may not have a deal in mind, but I have no doubt Activision is situating themselves for the possibility.

So who really butters Blizzard’s bread? China may be big stakes in the future, and they’ve certainly sunk a lot into that market, but the others are the ones keeping the lights on right now.

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zeko_rena

Damn, I didn’t even know Mitsubishi was still around as a company.

Sixuality
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Sixuality

Ouch. That’s going to leave a mark. I imagine Blizzard (and other MMO developers/publishers) are fairly jaded about individual sub cancellations, but losing business money like this isn’t something that can be so easily downplayed.

It may not kick off until the day after Halloween, but Blizzcon 2019 is going to be the real horrorshow of the season.