Mercedes-Benz apologized to Chinese consumers on Tuesday after it posted a photo of a luxury car along with a quote from the separatist Dalai Lama on Instagram.
The German automaker later deleted the "MondayMotivation" post, and issued an apology.
The post sparked heated discussion on social media, with an angry reaction from some Chinese consumers, who said by quoting Dalai Lama, Mercedes-Benz failed to understand the Chinese history and culture.
Some of the netizens rejected the apology, saying it shows lack of sincerity as it was only posted on a Chinese platform.
"Whether in China or abroad, fixing a mistake once recognizing it is a basic principle for people to do things," said Geng Shuang, the spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry, responding to the incident on Wednesday .
He stressed that having foreign enterprises operate in China is beneficial to both sides. China welcomes foreign enterprises to take opportunities in China's development but hopes they can comply with basic principles.
Mercedes-Benz last year delivered 587,900 cars to China, showing 25.9 percent growth. Social media noted that the firm should not ignore its success in the country, adding that it may still face backlash despite a timely apology.