There are lots of discussions (e.g., wang jianshuo) about boycotting French companies lately, after the Paris Olympics torch relay incident, and some France politicians unfriendly move. Now the France supermarket giant Carrefour, which has a large presence in China, will be boycotted on May 1, because (arguably) its main shareholder supports free Tibet organization. Baidu dedicated a full page to Carrefour boycott (Chinese).
My 2 cents on France and boycotting:
1) I think France is always the maverick in the west. Remember France is one of the first western countries which established diplomatic relation with P.R.China, their president was Charles_de_Gaulle at the time. In recent years France (along with Germany) is very outspoken against the Iraq war. So I would think it’s just their (some what naive) indepedent spirits got them into the Paris torch relay mess. Unfortunately they are on the wrong side of the matter this time.
2) Trade and Boycott. I also thought about the boycott immediately after reading the Paris torch incident news. But after more careful consideration, I think boycott is mostly a symbolic gesture, not a viable solution. Chinese have said boycotting Japanese products for 10-20 years, but I saw the Japanese cars (Toyota, Honda) are ever more popular in China. This is because most consumers and business are very rational in terms of “get the most bang from the buck”, or “get their money worth” when they buy stuff.
(Famous France brands in China, mitbbs has listed 48 brands)
That being said, I think western political leaders and foreign consumer brands should walk a very fine line here: they really should not piss off the Chinese people and consumers. The market is too important to lose.