Shaun Rein

United Airlines caused an uproar among its customers in China by forcefully removing a Chinese-American doctor. But calls for a boycott be understandable, but hard to execute, says business analyst Shaun Rein to BuzzFeed.


Access to the Chinese market is important to United, which says it runs more nonstop flights to Chinese cities than any other US airline, including routes from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Xi’an, and Hangzhou to all over the US. The airline also has a code-sharing deal with Air China on certain routes.

“It’s clear that Chinese partners like Air China will say to them, ‘What’s going on, this is unacceptable,’ and will want them to make it clear that it’s not a racist statement against the Chinese,” said Shaun Rein, managing director of China Market Research Group, who said he regularly works with multinational companies concerned about attacks from the Chinese government and consumers.

Rein added, however, that there are relatively few options for air travel between China and the US, so the airline may not face much impact from cost-conscious consumers in the end.

More in BuzzFeed.

Shaun Rein is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.

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