SHANGHAI -- Chinese Internet users berated BMW on Thursday, accusing it of discrimination at the Shanghai auto show amid claims workers at its Mini booth favored foreign over domestic visitors during an ice cream giveaway promotion.
Mini apologized for the incident in question, saying in a statement on its official Weibo account that it was caused by poor internal management and that it would improve training.
The topic "BMW Mini" became the second most-searched topic on China's Weibo social media platform, with over 93 million views with users reposting pictures and videos, along with negative comments, of an incident that local media said took place on Wednesday.
The controversy comes as BMW and fellow German automakers participate in the Shanghai show in full force as they fight to stay on top of consumer trends in a country where domestic rivals have been aggressively taking market share.
One video showed two Chinese workers telling some local visitors to the Mini stand that the free ice cream had run out, only to offer a tub moments later to a Western attendee.
"This has taken away my good feelings towards BMW," said one Weibo commentator.