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|Wednesday, January 18, 2012|
BY LEE VAN DER VOO
A racially charged holiday greeting is fanning the flames of a trade dispute in the solar industry, one that already has business leaders and others feeling touchy.
Sent to overseas associates, the card features a wish-list of top priorities for SolarWorld, with hopes like “job creation” and “safe warranties” dashed by a shrugging Chinese man in a Santa suit.
The image of the toothy Chinese man with a somewhat Grinch-like palor prompted Ocean Yuan, founder of Eugene-based Grape Solar, to express outrage.
In a Jan. 17 letter to Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, Yuan urged the duo to cut ties with SolarWorld. He said the Oregon Democrats should be “embarrassed and outraged by this blatantly racist card and disgraceful caricature attack on the Chinese” because both supported SolarWorld’s trade petition to the Department of Commerce.
SolarWorld’s Ben Santarris, in a statement on the company’s website, said the card was distributed by SolarWorld AG, the German parent company of SolarWorld Industries America Inc., which is based in Hillsboro.
“SolarWorld Industries America Inc. wishes to express its sincere apology to anyone who received an inappropriate and insensitive holiday card,” he said, indicating business contacts in Europe predominantly received an entirely different card sent by the American subsidiary.
The apology hasn’t been made personally to Yuan, who said he received the card after it was forwarded by a supplier. “I was shocked to see that,” he said. “It’s crazy.”
He has plans to circulate the image around Asian-American communities in major cities and the Congressional Asian Pacific Caucus Wednesday, barring response from Merkley or Wyden.
Grape Solar and SolarWorld are on opposite sides of a debate about Chinese subsidies in the solar market. SolarWorld is leading a coalition asking for tariffs on Chinese imports, arguing China’s subsidies to its solar manufacturers are allowing the companies to dump solar cells on the U.S. market for less than the price of making them. Grape Solar is a major distributor of solar panels and among those that argue Chinese components are essential to keeping solar costs low and encouraging adoption of solar technology.
Lee van der Voo is a contributing writer for Oregon Business.
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
More than 350 people turned out today for Oregon Business magazine’s sixth annual celebration of the 100 Best Green Companies to Work For in Oregon.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
How serious a problem is climate change? Readers want to have their cake and eat it, too.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
BY JON BELL
A new generation of outdoor apparel companies targets the young and the urban.
Thursday, July 10, 2014
BY TOM COX | OB BLOGGER
Tom Cox interviews Dr. Mark Goulston, author of Just Listen, Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone.
Thursday, May 29, 2014
I was in a rut. A few months ago, I was at my desk trying to come up with cover story ideas for our June “green” issue. But I was stuck on a concept that is a bit too tried and true in the magazine business.
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY | OB WEB EDITOR
Dress for Success Oregon promotes the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing professional attire, a network of support and career development tools.
Tuesday, July 08, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR
The New Yorker recently published a sharply worded critique of “disruptive innovation,” one of the most widely cited theories in the business world today. The article raises questions about the descriptive value of disruption and innovation — whether the terms are mere buzzwords or actually explain today's extraordinarily complex and fast changing business environment.
Update: We caught up with Portland's Thomas Thurston, who shared his data driven take on the disruption controversy.
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