Furniture retailer under fire found to "import" goods from domestic manufacturers

08:16, July 15, 2011      

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Da Vinci, a Shanghai-based retailer known as a prominent sales agent for international luxurious furniture brands in China, has been found to have "imported" furniture from Chinese manufactures, according to local authorities.

In the first half of 2011, Da Vinci "imported" 11 batches of furniture that were made in China at the Port of Shanghai, said a spokesman with the Shanghai Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau.

Ten of the 11 batches of furniture were manufactured by two domestic companies in the city of Haining and Ningbo in the eastern Zhejiang Province, said the spokesman.

The two companies "exported" furniture to the Shanghai Waigaoqiao Bonded Zone, and later Da Vinci "imported" and stored the products in its warehouses in Shanghai, he said, adding that the practice was unethical.

According to the spokesman, during the period, Da Vinci also imported about 100 batches of wooden furniture and adornments from countries including Italy, Spain, the United States, the Czech Republic, Vietnam, Philippines and India.

Da Vinci has been under fire after earlier this month media reports blamed it for faking places of production and selling inferior-quality products at stunningly high prices.

The municipal industry and commerce authorities have been investigating the company for alleged infringement on consumers' interests.

The incident has aroused public anger after an investigative program broadcast on China Central Television (CCTV) on Sunday showed a Beijing resident, surnamed Tang, complaining about the poor quality of her newly-bought Da Vinci furniture and the pungent smell it gave off.

Tang spent more than 2.8 million yuan (about 433,000 U.S. dollars) on more than 40 pieces of furniture, bearing the label of Cappelletti, which was sold by Da Vinci.

In a video clip displayed in the program, sales staff with a Da Vinci store in Beijing said to a CCTV reporter that all the Cappelletti furniture was produced in Italy.

However, Peng Jie, general manager of Changfeng Furniture Co., Ltd. in Dongguan in southern Guangdong Province told the reporter that the little-known company was paid to manufacture Da Vinci's Cappelletti furniture.

An electronic receipt provided by Changfeng showed Da Vinci paid the company for the products.

Peng said, a bed, which Changfeng sells for 30,000 yuan, can be priced at more than 300,000 yuan in a Da Vinci furniture store.

Tang sent the Da Vinci furniture to the National Center for Quality Supervision and Inspection of Furniture and Indoor Environment for a quality check. The result showed that the furniture failed to meet three quality standards.

In a Da Vinci store in Shanghai, a customer surnamed Miu told Xinhua he spent more than 2 million yuan on pieces of Da Vinci furniture in 2006. But in less than a year some parts of the furniture had broken.

"I bought these products out of my trust for the brand, but now I'm completely lost", Miu said.

In response to the CCTV report, Panzhuang Xiuhua, general manager of Da Vinci Furniture Co., Ltd., insisted at a press conference Wednesday that all the furniture of Italian brands being sold by Da Vinci was produced and imported from Italy.

She admitted that the furniture of American brands was bought in various countries, including Vietnam, Philippines, India, Indonesia and China.

With their surging wealth, some Chinese ultra-rich tend to believe that foreign brands are superior to domestic ones. Thus, some low quality products are labeled foreign brands and sold at high prices.

According to an introduction posted on Da Vinci's official website, the company was established in 2000 in Shanghai, and it has become one of the largest and top-grade retailers of furniture and indoor adornments in Asia, with nearly 20 stores in China and other Asian countries.

The company provides its customers with "high-quality products, reasonable prices and first-class services", says the introduction.

Source: Xinhua
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