China-Based Miniso Going to Remove Japanese Style After Pressure from Chinese

Pop quiz: is Miniso a Japanese brand, or a Chinese brand?

Since the company described themselves to be a “Japanese-inspired lifestyle product retailer”, it is no wonder that many people think that it’s a Japanese brand.

After an incident with a qipao-wearing doll being identified as Japanese, the Chinese have pressured the brand to take drastic action.

Labelled Chinese Doll as Japanese

China-owned Miniso, which has more than 5,000 stores globally, has often been compared to the Tokyo-owned brand Muji. Both of them have similar minimalist aesthetics typical of Japanese brands, after all.

However, this misconception crossed the line when Miniso’s Spanish Instagram account posted a picture of dolls. It labelled one of them a “Japanese geisha doll”, but Chinese netizens pointed out that the doll was wearing a qipao, which is a traditional Chinese costume.

This seemed to be the last straw for them, as Chinese netizens started to slam Miniso for promoting themselves as Japanese and for not showing patriotism.

Company Had “Taken the Wrong Path”, Will Punish Involved Executives

On 18 August, Miniso released a long apology statement.

They explained that they had hired a Japanese designer as its chief designer between the end of 2015 and 2018, which ended up cementing Miniso’s iconic Japanese style. Miniso then went on to say that they had “taken the wrong path” with their brand positioning and marketing strategy in their early days.

Additionally, they stated that they have started to remove Japanese elements from stores and shopping bags since late 2019. This has already come into effect across its 3,100 shops in China.

To continue this move, they vowed to start changing the signboards and decoration of its 1,900 stores abroad by the end of March 2023.

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Miniso will even punish senior executives involved with the previous Japanese-style strategy. Which, not gonna lie, seems a little harsh since that strategy did make you a lot of money.

Miniso’s headquarters will also be responsible for all of their overseas social media accounts in the future, so that there won’t be a repeat of the doll incident.

Ending off their apology, they said that they will “strictly examine the content and do a good job of Chinese culture and values’ exportation”.

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Featured Image: Facebook (Miniso Singapore)