Customers flock to a Lotte Group store that opened in the Chinese city of Nantong, Jiangsu Province, on September 19, 2012. South Korea's retail giant said its Chinese website was disrupted, starting Tuesday afternoon. Photo by Yonhap New Agency/EPA
March 1 (UPI) -- The Lotte Group said Wednesday its website in China was hacked, one day after South Korea's retail giant signed a deal to sell land for a U.S. missile defense system in South Korea.
The website, www.lotte.cn, was inaccessible since Tuesday afternoon because of a virus planted by hackers, a Lotte official said, citing an analysis of computer security experts.
The website breakdown occurred after Lotte's board agreed to sell its golf course in the southeast rural county of Seongju to South Korea's military to host the U.S.-backed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense.
Beijing has opposed the deployment of THAAD in South Korea, saying the system could hurt its security interests. China has vowed to take necessary "countermeasures."
Chinese state media also criticized Lotte's decision with threats of boycotts of its business in China.
"Companies that directly serve the deployment and jeopardize China's interest should stay far away from China," said the Global Times, a nationalist tabloid published by People's Daily.
JD.com Inc., China's No. 2 online shopping site, no longer had a section on Lotte Mart on Wednesday. A Lotte official said JD.com told them it was caused by a technical glitch.
Lotte, the fifth-largest family-run business in South Korea, started operations in China in 1994.
Last month, Lott said that it had closed three retail stores in China.
On Monday, Lotte said that it was concerned about losing additional business because of tensions between the two nations.
The United States and South Korea agreed to THAAD in 2016 after North Korea tested a long-range rocket and conducted its fourth underground nuclear test.