The only thing more striking than the $32,000 diamond-encrusted eyeglasses on display at the Baodao Optical department store here is the bronze statue of Chairman Mao that greets shoppers entering what is billed as the world’s largest eyeglass emporium. That is because Baodao Optical’s owners are from Taiwan, the island whose governing party, the Kuomintang, fought a fierce — and losing — civil war against Mao’s Communist forces before fleeing the mainland in 1949 with more than a million refugees. The rival governments have yet to sign a peace accord.
But by choosing to display Mao’s likeness and his famous credo “Serve the People” so prominently, Baodao Optical reveals how far some Taiwanese businesses will go to romance a Chinese market that many see as the wellspring of their future prosperity.
Such gestures have become especially freighted as an estimated 200,000 people return to Taiwan for an election on Saturday whose outcome could determine the future of a relationship that has warmed steadily since President Ma Ying-jeou swept into office there in 2008.
Full Article: Taiwan Vote Lures Back Expatriates in China – NYTimes.com.