Chinese dollar store chain MINISO apologizes for marketing itself as Japanese designer brand

August 18, 2022 0 Comments

After receiving backlash from Chinese netizens, Guangzhou-headquartered dollar store chain MINISO on Thursday issued a statement apologizing for marketing itself as a “Japanese designer brand”.

The backlash was triggered by a post on MINISO Spain’s Instagram account promoting one of its Disney Princess blind box products—a doll wearing a Chinese Qipao was incorrectly described as a Japanese geisha.

In this regard, MINISO soon issued an apology, stating that it was a translation error. However, this did not stop the outrage, and criticism of the company continued on social media platforms.

Some social media users revealed that the company positioned itself as a Japanese brand in certain foreign markets, while a widely circulated post said Chinese songs were not allowed in stores.

MINISO Disney Princess Series

To appease the anger, MINISO issued the latest statement on Weibo, a  Twitter-like platform, apologizing for its marketing approach as a “Japanese designer brand” and stressing that it was a Chinese company from the start.

“We experienced incorrect brand positioning and marketing techniques early on,” it said. To help with its early global expansion, the company hired Japanese designer Junya Miyake as chief designer from 2015 to 2018, and has since called itself a “Japanese designer brand.”

In the statement, it added that it would remove slogans related to Japanese designer goods, change the style of its storefronts, and more.

In China, because MINISO is highly similar to Uniqlo in terms of color matching, fonts, interior design style, etc., it’s also dubbed the title of “Knockoff Uniqlo”.

Founded in 2009 by Chinese entrepreneur Ye Guofu, MINISO, the low-cost store chain, specializes in household and consumer goods including cosmetics, stationery, toys, and kitchenware.

MINISO has entered 100 countries and regions and opened more than 5,000 stores around the world. According to the company’s latest financial report, in the quarter ended March 31, 2022, the group made $369.3 million in profit, representing an increase of 5 percent from the previous year.

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