The inclusion of Mumuso, a copycat of Korean stores that produce household products, in Lotte Mart’s Vietnam stores has been frowned upon by critics.
And the chain has now been told its Lotte Mart leases will not be renewed when they expire.
Lotte Mart Vietnam announced yesterday that Mumuso opened up shop in its South Saigon branch in August. On its labels, the words, “Korea” and “Kr” convey, to consumers, that Mumuso is a Korean brand.
However, the company was previously penalised by the Vietnamese government for selling low-quality Chinese products.
According to a survey by the Vietnamese government, 2257 types of products (99.3 per cent) were imported from China. No products were found to have been imported from South Korea.
In addition, the brand Mumuso.kr registered its name at the Korean Intellectual Property Office, but the rights were entrusted to Mumuso Shanghai.
In July, the Vietnamese government announced that Mumuso had attempted to portray itself with a connection to Korea, but explained that such allegations were found unsupported by evidence.
An official at Lotte Mart Vietnam said the Vietnamese employee at Lotte Mart was not fully aware of the circumstances when the rental contract was approved.
“After the two-year contract is over, Mumuso will be asked to leave,” said the official.
The official said that current laws make it impossible for an immediate eviction as the Mumuso store is not operating illegally.
“We’ve asked Mumuso to be cautious in how it presents itself so that it is not mistaken for a Korean shop,” said the official.
With 27 stores operating in Vietnam alone, the company is expanding its network of shops in Southeast Asia, South America and Russia.
In addition, there are 40 other Chinese shop brands that have been branded to give the impression, like Mumuso, that they are affiliated with South Korea.
- Original reporting by HS Seo of Korea Bizwire.