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Social media furors over what are acceptable and unacceptable images of Chinese beauty are becoming harder to predict. Controversies are not just engulfing foreign advertisers like Dior but also now domestic brands such as Three Squirrels. (Nikkei montage/AP, Getty Images and Reuters)
Business Spotlight

Advertisers struggle to navigate China's shifting beauty standards

Models that don't conform to a narrow ideal can spark a social media outcry

MARRIAN ZHOU, Nikkei staff writer | China

NEW YORK -- "There are three things in life you can't avoid -- birth, death and insult to China."

It is a joke that has circulated among Chinese netizens as claims that something is an "insult to China" become more frequent on social media. But for brands and the advertising executives that advise them, the issue is no laughing matter.

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