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Vietnamese consumers looking at Chinese goods with wariness
07 | 06 | 2007
Chinese goods have been flooding Vietnam like they have been dominating the world’s market. However, Vietnamese consumers now keep cautious when using Chinese products.
Why can China-made goods dominate Vietnam’s market? Because they are very cheap and diversified in design. Why do Vietnamese consumers keep cautious now when using Chinese products? Because they are toxic. This also explains why the US and European markets try to boycott China-made products.

Chinese-made products dirt cheap…

China-made products can be seen everywhere, from the big ones like motorbikes or cars, to very small ones like screws or glue.

China-made motorbikes, for example, once flooded Vietnam’s market thanks to their surprisingly low prices compared to the products sourced from Japan, Republic of Korea or Thailand. A Dream motorbike assembled in Vietnam or Thailand is priced at several tens million dong, while a China-made motorbike was sold at VND5-7mil, a Japan-sourced @ motorbike is selling at several thousand dollars, while a China-made luxury motorbike is just valued at $1,000 at maximum, which prove to be affordable for low income earners, who still want status symbols.

China-made electronics and home appliances have also been dominating the domestic market. TV sets, VCD and DVD players, electric pans, cookers, screws and TV antenna all can be China-made products. A Tiger electric cooker made in Japan is priced at $1.5mil, a Philips cooker sourced from the Netherlands at VND800,000, from Thailand at VND500,000, while the same product made in China is selling at VND120,000 only.

Clothes, footwear, watches, food and children’s toys are also the products which were once favoured by Vietnamese consumers. The appearance in the domestic market has been causing a headache to local producers, who do not understand why Chinese producers can make things at such low production costs.

… and very toxic

Over the last few years, Vietnamese consumers whispered in each other’s ears that China-sourced eggs are not rotten and fruits are not spoiled even if they are kept unused for a long time. They said that the food and fruits may be covered by a kind of chemical substance, but they do not have any proof.

Mrs Hoa, a saleswoman of fruits at Tan Thanh border gate, said that Chinese fruits are 30-40% cheaper than other domestically grown ones, therefore they are still being consumed well.

Several days ago, Vietnamese women were shocked when hearing about the news that lipsticks with sudan that can cause cancer made in China were found. It is unclear how many Vietnamese women, who like cosmetics but cannot afford expensive products, have used this kind of very cheap lipstick.

After that, Vietnamese consumers were, once again, shocked when hearing about the discovery of diethylene glycol, the substance that can cause cancer, in the tooth paste made in China. Other consumer products like bedding, children’s clothes and toys all are believed to contain toxic substances, which can harm human health.

Most recently, Sydney Morning Herald, a newspaper in Australia has made public the documents showing that the bedding with the trademark Sheridan Indugence that Australia imports from China has the formaldehyde content which is 10 times higher than the allowed level.

The information has been worrying Vietnamese consumers as blankets and pillows made in China are being used in many families throughout the country. Vietnamese consumers now consider the phrase “the cheapest are the dearest” when talking about Chinese goods.



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