Lotte Group is a multinational corporation having footprints across Asia, Europe and North America. It has headquarters in Seoul, South Korea. Apart from Japan, China is its second major market. Lotte Group started its business operations in China in 1994, and since then it has earned an excellent reputation and following from the Chinese consumers. However, sometimes, securing political and national interests become more important than business and this we have learned from what happened to Lotte’s China website on Tuesday.
Reportedly, the website of Lotte Group China www.lotte.cn was hacked just a day after the company signed a deal with the South Korea military to sell a golf course, which is situated in Seongju, South Korea, for the establishment of a US military sponsored Terminal High Altitude Area [Missile] Defense system or THAAD. It must be noted that the golf course is a property of the Lotte Group.
Surprisingly, Beijing wasn’t too happy about the deployment of THAAD in South Korea citing security concerns because the country believes that the system will create hurdles in its security interests. The Chinese government had pledged to undertake countermeasures as a response.
In fact, Chinese state media also severely criticized the deal and warned the company that its businesses would be boycotted in China. One of the leading local newspaper, the Global Times categorically stated that:
“Companies that directly serve the deployment and jeopardize China’s interest should stay far away from China.”
Now, we hear that Lotte Group’s China website was targeted by cyber-criminals, which will start all sorts of speculations and rumors.
After the hack attack, the abovementioned website remained inaccessible throughout Tuesday afternoon. Investigations carried out by the company’s computer security experts revealed that the hackers infected the site with a virus.
Lotte Group is apparently receiving backlash from its Chinese partners too since the country’s top online shopping platform JD.com Inc., has discontinued the Lotte Mart section on its website. However, JD.com’s official spokesperson denied these assumptions and stated that the reason was a technical flaw and not a reactionary response.
Lotte Group had to close three of its retail outlets in China due to the souring ties between the two nations and it expects to receive further losses in the future.
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