The Shanghai municipal administration for market regulation has fined Xiji Shanghai Trade Company Ltd, which runs the official flagship store for leading parka-maker Canada Goose Holdings Inc, 450,000 yuan ($69,622) for misleading consumers by making false claims in advertisements.
The company claimed on domestic e-commerce platform Tmall that it uses Hutterite feather, the "most warm-keeping feather from Canada".
Hutterite, however, refers merely to a group of people who live in northwestern North America and raise geese for food and their feathers. On checking with experts, the market regulators found that being Hutterite does not necessarily guarantee quality. The warm-keeping quality of a feather depends on the type and maturity of the bird from which it is plucked, not where it is bred.
Besides, according to the Down Association of Canada, a nonprofit organization that issues the Downmark symbol of quality, the best feathers have a "down power" of 1,000, but Canada Goose uses feathers with down power below 800, and almost 70 percent of its products in China have a down power of just 625.
The market regulators' move to fine Canada Goose shows their professionalism in checking with experts and collecting information from websites abroad.
The move should alert all foreign brands against cheating Chinese consumers. Not long ago, Unilever was found to be using vegetable oil in its Magnum ice cream products sold in China, instead of condensed milk it uses for the same products sold in Europe. As more consumers get to know about the wrongs foreign brands commit, they are no longer trusting them blindly.
All companies, foreign or domestic, need to learn to respect and abide by Chinese laws.
The Shanghai market regulatory bureau investigated into Canada Goose's ad because it claimed to make the "best" products, which is forbidden under Chinese advertisement law. Any company found cheating or making misleading claims will only fail in the long run. This is what Canada Goose and other brands need to understand.