Authorities in Da Nang have fined two showrooms in Da Nang more than VND20.3 million (US$916) after locals complained that they had a discriminatory policy and only serve Chinese and South Korean customers.
One showroom, H.A Vietnam Natural Latex, of Tue Dan Commerce and Service Company, only open to Chinese, was fined VND15.5 million and another shop, Sao Dai Han, serving only Koreans was fined VND4.8 million.
Da Nang’s market managers checked the bedroom accessories showrooms on Wednesday after locals and tourists coming from other countries expressed their frustration on social networks.
Lu Bang, deputy director of Da Nang Department of Industry and Trade, said they were fined for failing to display labels in Vietnamese language and list the prices in Vietnamese currency.
Bang, who is also chairman of the Da Nang Association for Consumers' Right Protection, said that Vietnam does not have any rule to punish shops that choose who they want to serve.
“But we have required them to sign a commitment to serve all customers.”
The showroom of Tue Dan was opened on December 5 and all the products were made in China.
A manager said it has partnered with travel agencies to bring Chinese tourists for shopping.
“As we are usually busy receiving the tourists, the individual customers would have to wait,” he said.
He said the showroom receives up to ten groups of Chinese tourists every day.
A woman, who sells beverages near the H.A shop, said the place is almost empty as the Vietnamese are completely banned.
She told Thanh Nien that a Vietnamese only needs to stand near the gate and a guard will shoo him or her away.
A market monitoring officer inspects the H.A Natural Latex shop on Xuan Thuy Street, Da Nang in the morning of December 23, 2015. Photo: Hoang Son.
Unlike most other showrooms that want to let people know what they are trying to sell, the Tue Dan shop is surrounded by high concrete walls.
Economist Ngo Tri Long said that it is unusual because “I personally see no reason for some Chinese tourists to come to Vietnam to buy chunky products made in their country.”
Bui Van Tieng, a former Da Nang Party official, told Thanh Nien a business might be “losing its mind” when it shows discrimination to its customers.
He said that the discrimination at Da Nang’s showrooms may have some cultural or political motive.