The boss of French clothing brand Zadig & Voltaire has apologised for saying Chinese tourists would not be welcome at the firm's exclusive new Paris hotel.
Company founder Thierry Gillier caused outrage after telling a journalist: "We are going to select guests. It won't be open to Chinese tourists, for example."
His comments in fashion industry journal Women's Wear Daily have since been amended to refer to "busloads of tourists" rather than Chinese tourists.
But that did not stop offended social media users expressing their anger online.
"This is obviously racial discrimination. Not every Chinese is uncultivated, there are many more who are cultured," said one user on popular portal Sina.com
"I think this pretentious brand will lose an important market if it really turns down Chinese."
In a statement, Gillier said the remarks had been taken out of context and apologised for any offence caused.
"These reported words do not reflect either my line of thought or my ethics," he said. "My remarks were doubtless clumsy and, taken out of their context, I understand they might have hurt my friends from China, France or elsewhere. I am deeply sorry."
The forthcoming hotel would be an "intimate address", the statement said, adding that Gillier "expressed himself in an inappropriate way to explain that his hotel was not suited to mass tourism".