Fake Casio calculators made in China resemble real ones made by a Vietnamese company. Photo courtesy of Tuoi Tre
Copycats of many Vietnamese gadgets have been smuggled to Vietnam from China, leaving the real companies to deal with poor quality complaints, even bankruptcy.
Chinese makers quickly follow new product launches in Vietnam, and their versions resemble the authentic products, only they are made from cheaper materials, representatives of Vietnamese companies told Tuoi Tre in a report Monday.
Nguyen Cong Quyen, board chairman of Ho Chi Minh City-based consumer electronics producer Vietnam-Japan Technology JSC, said he was "panicked" with a wave of more than 20 complaining customers over the past two weeks.
Quyen said Chinese fraudsters also sell the fakes at higher prices with promotional bonuses, and many customers have come to his company's headquarters to ask for gifts such as pots and cooking oil as promised earlier.
"The fraudsters provide our address, telephone numbers, faking our warranty papers and even our seal to convince people," he said.
Quyen said the Chinese makers have made great efforts to make sure it's hard to tell the genuine and the fake products apart. "Immediately after we added a Vietnamese instruction voice to the products, the fakes also had it."
Binh Tay Import Export Company in the city recently also received complaints about a Casio calculator that almost caused a girl to fail her exam as it kept turning off and giving the wrong results.
The calculator was new and carried an anti-fake stamp, the kind issued by Vietnam's quality agencies, but Bitex technicians said it was a fake.
Company board chairman Nguyen Xuan Dung said the firm cooperated with police and discovered more than 2,500 fake calculators this year from 52 busts in 24 cities and provinces.
"Actually, the more we fight, we just feel more discouraged as the situation has become worse instead of improved," Dung told Tuoi Tre.
He said the authorities should stop the smuggling at the border, as it costs more to try to track them down on local markets.
He said the company is cooperating with customs officials at the city ports, but has not managed to win the same support from customs officials at the northern borderline.
Truong Quang Hoai Nam, head of the Market Surveillance Agency at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, told a conference on fighting fraudulent products in Ho Chi Minh City November 29 that fake products can penetrate into the country due to poor cooperation between border guards, customs officials and market managers.
The management chain is also interrupted when the products cross through different cities and provinces, Nam said.
A mobile team was set up by the ministry recently to keep track of fake products across different localities.
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