Delivery service criticized in China for suspending BTS-related packages

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Oct. 20 (UPI) — A Chinese delivery service that said it had stopped transportation of all packages related to K-pop band BTS is under fire for the statement posted to a local social media platform.

Yunda Express’ Korea branch said on Weibo on Tuesday that “all BTS courier deliveries have been temporarily suspended,” adding, “The reasons are what we all know,” South Korean newspaper Hankook Ilbo reported.

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Yunda is China’s fifth-biggest delivery and shipping service, and headquartered in Shandong, Qingdao Province. Its annual revenue is $5.2 billion, and operating profits are about $520 million. Yunda’s primary business is South Korea logistics, according to the report.

The company’s statement has been met with outrage on the Chinese Internet. Commenters on social media said the statement was “ridiculous.” People asked rhetorically on what grounds Yunda could search the contents of the package to check for BTS material.

“If we use another courier service, that would be the end,” one commenter said.

Yunda’s decision comes after the South Korean boy band had said they would remember the shared sacrifices of U.S. and South Korean troops after being presented with the James A. Van Fleet Award from The Korea Society in New York. Chinese state media claimed BTS “hurt the feelings” of Chinese citizens by not mentioning Chinese sacrifices.

As controversy grew over Yunda’s decision on Monday, China’s customs office said the government has issued no orders to stop the transport of BTS-related packages. ShunFeng Express, China’s biggest delivery service, said it is not placing any restrictions, according to Hankook Ilbo.

South Korean popular culture first made an impact abroad in China in the mid-’90s, where the phrase “Korean wave” was coined to describe the appeal of Korean dramas, music and movies.

Korean entertainment media is expanding with the rise of online streaming services to move to markets beyond Asia.

Kukmin Ilbo reported Tuesday the popularity of BTS and South Korean collaborations on Netflix have helped Korean content gain new market share in the United States and elsewhere. On Sunday, Paolo Coelho, author of The Alchemist, praised the producers of Korean drama My Mister, currently streaming on Netflix. On Oct. 10, Mad Men star January Jones posted to Instagram a picture a coat she purchased after watching Korean drama Crash Landing On You.

Korea-themed content is becoming more prominent on other platforms. South Korean actor Lee Min-ho is to star in an Apple TV adaptation of the bestselling novel Pachinko, according to the report.