Blizzard lost a big sponsor after the Hong Kong outcry: Mitsubishi

Blizzard Entertainment may be feeling the effects of its controversial Hong Kong ban Hearthstone player Ng "Blitzchung" Wai Chung for quite some time. The company not only faced a generalized boycott of players, convictions of US lawmakers and numerous employee abandonments due to the decision, but also lost a key sponsor of its international gaming competitions.

According to The Daily Beast Mitsubishi decided to withdraw sponsorships of Blizzard electronic sports events after the company banned Wai Chung from expressing its support for Hong Kong protesters in a televised interview following the game earlier this month. . Reddit users first noticed the disappearance of the Mitsubishi logo during a recent Asia Pacific tournament Hearthstone and the company confirmed its decision to withdraw its sponsorship to The Daily Beast .

The Mitsubishi arm that withdrew its sponsorship support was Mitsubishi Motors Taiwan, the Taiwanese branch of the Japanese auto company. Taiwan is often the subject of contentious disputes between the Chinese government and companies around the world that run the risk of losing business opportunities in the country's mainland if they somehow challenge the government's position on China's sovereignty of Hong Kong, Taiwan and other territories. Apple recently hid the flag of Taiwan in the iOS 13 emoji set if it is in Hong Kong or Macau.

After initially announcing a one-year ban by Wai Chung and the tournament announcers interviewing him live in early October, Blizzard shortened the ban to six months in response to public and fan protest. But the company also said its decision was not motivated by its relationship with the Chinese government, a position that critics have found doubtful. Blizzard operates numerous online video games in China, and also oversees electronic sports teams and leagues for some of its most successful properties, such as Overwatch and Hearthstone in the country.

The company said it did not agree that Wai Chung would use the official broadcast of the tournament to express his political views, and has since banned US university students. UU. And to Twitch users for continuing to express their support for Hong Kong. Blizzard's annual convention, BlizzCon, begins this Friday, where discussions about Hong Kong's protests will likely become a flash point for further controversy. The nonprofit organization Fight for the Future has organized a new campaign focused on games called Gamers for Freedom that plans to protest against the event.

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Updated: October 30, 2019 — 4:02 am