The Da Vinci furniture scandal

Wow, I was really shocked when I read about this. According to China Central Television (CCTV), Singapore luxury furniture retailer Da Vinci might be deceiving its customers about the origin of its products. Da Vinci’s products are all listed as being “Made in Italy”. But according to a CCTV’s report, some of their products were made in China, send to Italy and re-imported back to China so that they can obtain an “import certificate”.

If you understand Mandarin and have 24 minutes to spare, check out the 2 YouTube videos below.

PS: I think the male presentator is pretty good. He pointed out several interesting points.

It is interesting to note that Da Vinci’s founder Dr Doris Phua won several Entrepreneur Awards in the early 2000s. If the accusations are false, I hope they would be able to clear their name as soon as possible. But if the accusations are true, then it would be a disgrace to the local entrepreneur scene.

Not sure if you notice, but most of the people are complaining that Da Vinci is deceiving them about the origin of the furniture. Not many of them are complaining about the quality of the furniture. Which is weird. Which is more important? Origin of the product or the quality of the product. It’s funny that most of the people care about the origin than the quality. To me, it’s the quality that matters most. If the quality is good, I don’t care if it is made in China or Italy.

Well, if the origin of the product is so important, then here’s my suggestion. Set up a factory in Italy. Hire cheap labour from China and send them to Italy to work in the factory. Continue to use low quality material for the furniture. That should solve most of the problems since people care more about the origin and less about the quality. Right?

Hmmmm…… Something is not right here.

7 Responses to 'The Da Vinci furniture scandal'

  1. Ivy says:

    It’s about manipulating perception. Italy = quality.
    Ivy´s last blog post ..How To Break Through Bureaucracy To Keep Projects Moving – The 99 Percent

  2. Nit-pick: setting up factories in Italy will incur higher labour costs, no matter where you import the workers from. Some countries do try to protect workers’ rights. :)

  3. xyz says:

    I think the quality issue is a given i.e. people ain’t gonna buy if they can obviously see the furniture is not well made and not well finished. Da Vinci has also operated in China for a while and the fact that customers had not previously returned with broken or loose furniture meant that the quality is so far OK.

    The problem is that Da Vinci is selling an Italian story with a humongous Italy price premium on their products. E.g. A sofa set costing US$70,000 is normal price range. If you need to furnish a HDB 4-rm sized apartment in Shanghai using Da Vinci furniture, you better have cash for at least US$200,000.

    It’s like selling Singaporeans $300K Mercedes, only to be revealed that all along the cars are designed and made in Vietnam, and that the so-called company in Germany is a shell outfit consisting of a decrepit office in the slums of Hamburg looked after by a janitor.

    As for factory in Italy with cheapo china workers — no can do. Coz Italy and whole of West Europe have citizen-first employment rules, followed by European-second rules. Unless you setup underground factory in Sicily and pay protection money to the mafia godfathers there.

  4. dk says:

    Heng-Cheong Leong: Oops. I totally forgotten about that. Damn. OK, I need to re-think my evil plans. Haha.

    xyz: But then, there were people who complaint about the quality before the whole scandal. Just not as much.

  5. Thomas Yeo says:

    I have one set 6 seater settee from Singapore Davinci and after 15 months of usage, all 4 recliner levers were broken with a week. I have approached their staff for levers replacement on two occasions but were discourage in 2000. I then went to other furniture suppliers (Sungei Kadut) and was told this lever was not original and suggest to go back to Davinci for replacement. This recliner lever measure 2.5 inches x 1.5 inches and is made of metal. This settee has a badge read Italsofa and is 1, 2 and 3 seater. Can someone provide me with name of some contractors who can fix my settee? FYI, this settee is seldom used and is quite new.
    Thank you

  6. Anna says:

    Ok, let me tell about my visit to DaVinci Furniture years ago. I had already bought an imported bed from Marquis Gallery and was very surprised when I saw a similar bed with the same marquetry design of my headboard. I had a good laugh when I saw the company tag on the furniture because I know that the Italian people like to be “discreet” about it. I know the difference between Italian and Chinese, especially on the quality. I suspected that their furniture was made in China even though the staff told me that they were made in Italy. Yet, in comparison between my bed and their bed, its quality was not superior and its price was not cheap.

    Customers have every reason to complain about misrepresentation because they were under the impression that they were paying for high quality furniture. The price between a “Made In Italy” furniture and “Made in China” furniture is BIG.

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