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Toxic Chinese jewelry continues to attract unwary consumers   2010-03-26 - VietNamNet/SGTT

Why do Vietnamese customers continue to buy China-made jewelry products, even though they know that many of them are dangerous?


The HCM City Market Control Sub-department continuously inspects shops and always finds jewelry items illegally-imported from China. According to Saigon Tiep Thi, 98 percent are toxic.


On March 23, the agency examined three kiosks at An Dong Market and seized nearly 1200 items made in China that lacked invoices.


According to the taskforce, they have seized 7608 items so far. Of this amount, only 105 products did not contain toxins, while the remaining products all are dangerous, including 2279 products that contain cadmium which causes cancer.


Despite the widely-available information about toxic jewelry, these shops are still filled with buyers. The products are very attractive because they are very cheap, from 35,000 to 65,000 dong per item.


Ai Tran, a student of a vocational school explained, “I have not heard about the toxic jewelry products. I buy them because they are beautiful and cheap. And my friends also wear such products.”


Wholesalers in HCM City respond that this jewelry has been imported in large quantities since the beginning of March and are selling very well. Many retailers from Kim Bien, Binh Tay and small merchants from other provinces also come to purchase goods to sell.


Why do Vietnamese consumers still purchase Chinese jewelry when they have know they are toxic? The answer is that there is no domestically-made equivalent that is as cheap and beautiful.


Saigon Tiep Thi reporters visited many jewelry shops in HCM City, but they could not find any shop specializing in Vietnamese products.


A worker at one shop that specializes in materials for jewelry design shops also observed that nearly all kinds of materials for making jewelry are imported.


Nguyen Tuan Minh, the owner of Kim Minh jewelry production workshop, stated that Vietnam-made products are safe, but expensive. He said that the wholesale price of a pair of earrings is 30-40,000 dong at least (the wholesale price applied for the lot of 50 pairs).


Therefore, Minh explained, the workshop can make products to order in small quantities, but it cannot produce large quantities and sell on a massive scale to compete with Chinese products.


In contrast, Chinese products sell at 3,000-7,000 (earrings) or 8,000-15,000 (a set of bracelets). One can understand why their products are so attractive to consumers.


Additionally, Vietnam-made products are not diversified in design. Most workshops admitted that they have many workers, but not many designers.


When asked why people do not fear toxins, Dao Thi Cuc from the Vietnam Customer Protection Association speculated that the information about toxic products has not been spread widely enough, so people do not realize their harmful effects. Moreover, they cannot see the dangers immediately, so they still wear toxic jewelry.

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