Most governments maintain some form of total or near total control of the distribution of physical content within their boundaries. The existence of gray and black markets is a given in many locales and through which essentially anything can be obtained, and the juxtaposition couldn’t be starker in some geographies. For example, the Chinese government has some of the most restrictive content standards of any nation, while at the same time having tremendously high piracy rates of digital content. So even though a product with questionable (or even outright offensive) content may be obtainable within a country’s borders, the local government can impose restrictions on the business of origin, such as permanently restricting sales of the offending product or even shutting down the company’s local operations. Many companies expend a great deal of time and money to forge a cooperative relationship with local governments so that any potential problems can be managed in the context of a partnership.
However, depending on the offense, there is no guarantee that any amount of business diplomacy will prevent the consequences of a problematic piece of content. For some locales in particular, such as China, there’s not only no guarantee but also a high degree of unpredictability in terms of how one government official might react to something compared to a different official. One serious event can seriously damage a business’ government relations and in some cases dissolve it entirely. So it’s critical to respect the authority that governments have over their marketplace. . .