What did DaVinci furniture scandal expose?

15:08, July 21, 2011      

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DaVinci brand furniture is famous for its high prices in China. One DaVinci single bed can be sold for more than 100,000 yuan and a sofa set can be sold for more than 300,000 yuan. Salesmen say that it is because DaVinci"is an Italian international super brand and its furniture is produced in Italy. In addition, it claimed its raw materials are high-quality natural materials without pollution.

However, the survey results show that a large amount of the expensive DaVinci furniture is produced in China, not Italy, and the raw materials are not rare wood as they declared, but polymer resinous materials. The survey results also show that the DaVinci furniture that consumers purchased even incuded unqualified products.

The true colors of another "bogus foreign devil" were exposed, which aroused a public outcry. How did the China-made DaVinci furniture disguise itself as a foreign product?

According to sources, DaVinci purchased furniture from Dongguan City of south China's Guangdong Province and directly carried the furniture to Italy from the Shenzhen port, and then carried them back to Shanghai. As a result, that furniture will have complete import formalities. Some DaVinci furniture in Shanghai even did not leave China but only stay at the bonded zone for some time and returned the market as foreign-made products.

Why did DaVinci Furniture put fake "foreign-made" labels on its products? Obviously, its purpose was to reap huge profits. The price of a piece of furniture can rise sharply simply because of a "Made in Italy" label. For example, a double bed is priced at around 30,000 yuan at a domestic store, but its price can rise to over 300,000 yuan at an exclusive store of DaVinci Furniture.

There are two questions worth pondering. Why are fake foreign brands still rampant despite frequent crackdowns? What are the causes of this phenomenon?

First, domestic consumers need to develop more mature attitudes toward consumption. The whole DaVinci Furniture scandal revolves around irony and deception, and buyers of the fake foreign furniture are partially responsible for their own losses.

A main reason why there are so many fake foreign brands is that Chinese consumers worship almost everything foreign and believe that foreign brands equal superior quality. Furthermore, some people have bought luxury foreign goods only to show off their wealth. They care more about price tag than product quality. The purpose of DaVinci Furniture putting fake "foreign-made" labels on its domestically manufactured products was to reap huge profits by catering to domestic consumers' immature attitudes toward consumption.

Second, China's domestic brands are not self-confident. Since many Chinese consumers "worship" foreign products, a lot of domestic brands have lost their self-confidence. In recent years, a large amount of "international brand-name products" of China's domestic markets were actually produced in China's Guangdong Province or other places. Some Chinese brands actually were quite successful and could have independent intellectual property rights that meet international quality standards. However, they ultimately chose to find a foreign company as their "papa" and transformed themselves into "imitation foreign companies." It is really a sad thing of China's national industry that the good products made in China have to pretend to be foreign products.

Third, the link of supervision has defects. The "first exporting and then importing them" process carefully designed by the DaVinci Furniture were supervised and coordinated by many functional departments.

Did these departments fulfill their duties? An expert said that some related departments and industrial systems are not strict and did not maintain strict standards during the mess of "imitation foreign products disturbing domestic markets." They have given a green light in all the procedures, from registering offshore companies or shell companies to handling the "first exporting and then importing them" process and to bringing the products to shopping centers. In this way, many "imitation foreign products" have put on "new imitation clothes" and are sold at amazingly high prices to cheat consumers. Hopefully, related departments and industrial associations could learn a lesson from the "DaVinci Incident" and will improve the legal system and normalize the disorderly foreign-product market of China so that companies like the DaVinci Furniture will no longer be able to do whatever they want.

By He Haiyong from People's Daily Overseas Edition, translated by People's Daily Online

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