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Business trends

Beijing's Marriott web ban sends warning to multinationals

China's message to fall in line or risk profit loss put foreign businesses on edge

HONG KONG -- China's temporary ban on Marriott International's Chinese websites was a warning to international companies that they must comply with the Communist Party's political agenda if they want to do business in the world's second largest economy. Analysts say foreign entities must learn to walk the tightrope in China.

The authorities' tougher stance on foreign businesses was clearly illustrated last week. On top of U.S. hotel group Marriott, Spanish fashion retailer Zara and American carrier Delta Air Lines were named and shamed in China for listing some of its "inalienable regions" as separate countries. Marriott was ordered to shut down its Chinese websites for a week, and others to make public apologies. Some angry internet users even threatened to boycott those brands.

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