Unclear labelling of goods upsets buyers

10:44 | 18/08/2018

A number of convenience stores advertising their brands as “made in Korea” or “made in Japan” have been fined for ambiguous information on the origin of their goods, making many Vietnamese consumers feel confused and nervous.

unclear labelling of goods upsets buyers
A large number of domestic consumers have shown disappointment with the brands on social networks, Photo: Dung Minh

Untruthful advertisement on quality

Recent years, Vietnam has become an attractive destination for convenience store brands. With more than 100 stores of various brands concentrated in crowded streets nationwide, these stores has made the habits of Vietnamese consumers gradually change. Instead of going to supermarkets to buy daily necessities, they choose convenience stores due to their reasonable prices, diverse types and designs of products, and attentive services.

Daiso Japan is the leading brand in the business in Vietnam, officially having entered the market with its first store launch in 2008. To date, a number of South Korean- and Japanese-style shops have mushroomed on the Vietnamese market and have been welcomed by consumers, as Minigood, Yoyoso, and Ilahui advertise themselves as brands from South Korea, Mumuso styles itself as “a retail brand name from South Korea”, and Miniso calls itself a renowned “Japanese designer brand”.

This favourite of local consumers comes not only from Vietnamese people’s interest in foreign brands, but also from the fact that products from South Korea and Japan are always sought after for prestige and good quality.

Do Hoang Lan, living in Hanoi, told VIR that she often visits the Ilahui shop near her house to buy everyday items. “I am crazy about the cheap, but beautiful goods from foreign brands. I buy a lot of things each time I come to this shop, even though I have no plans to buy them.”

The Ministry of Industry and Trade recently announced the results of its inspection of Mumuso Vietnam, saying that 99.3 per cent of its goods were made in China. Other chains, including Miniso and Daiso Japan, were also found to show signs of unclear origins of their goods. Specifically, many of Daiso Japan’s goods are of Chinese origin, but not labelled in Vietnamese, and do not carry conformity to regulation (CR) stamps in accordance with Vietnamese legal regulations on goods labelling.

In Miniso, customers see advertisements with the words “Japanese designer brand” and its products labelled in Japanese, with information in English, Japanese, and Chinese, but most of products are made in China.

Reflections of consumers

Many Vietnamese consumers have publicly expressed their opinions on the misleading information of some brands’ advertisements. Many showed worry and raised the question whether the goods sold by these brands, manufactured in a third country, can equal the quality of goods made in South Korea or Japan or whether the brands are tricking consumers into buying low-quality goods to make a profit.

Phuong Thu from Hadong district in Hanoi asked, “Why do Korean- and Japanese-advertised stores sell Chinese goods? It is intentionally misleading to deceive the consumers. From now on, I will not buy and use products of these brands anymore.”

16-year-old Hong Anh from Dong Da district in Hanoi said that she and her friends sometimes go to these stores to buy birthday gifts. “We chose these brands because we all thought that they sell South Korean or Japanese products at reasonable prices, suitable for the financial capacities of students. From the day I found out that they cheated consumers by selling Chinese goods, I did not go there anymore.”

However, other consumers shared that they would still buy products in these stores because of their beautiful design and reasonable prices. Only when buying health-related products will they choose the more prestigious suppliers on the market.

Thanh Huyen from Hanoi said her husband is Japanese and is very interested in the origin and quality of the goods he is using. “Cosmetics, milk, and baby clothes are mostly sent by my mother-in-law or by my husband when he returns to Japan. As for other daily necessities, I just choose well known stores I feel very confident in and trust,” Huyen said.

Japanese expatriate Masayuki Manabe, who has lived in Hanoi for 10 years, said that he has just bought decorative goods that do not affect health at these stores. For other items, he selects the more prestigious brands in the market.

A Japanese retailer representative in Vietnam said that customers are losing trust in some brands of advertising from Japan. While this has caused a negative impact on his company, it is also an opportunity to affirm its position on the market.

“In order for customers to feel secure, information about our products on the stamp is also provided more carefully, including the origin, production units, and importers,” he said.

Hoang Oanh

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