Chinese Variety Store Miniso Apologizes for Early Marketing as Japanese Designer Brand

On August 18, Chinese variety store Miniso issued a statement in which it apologized for earlier marketing efforts that presented the company as a “Japanese designer brand.” The statement said that from 2015 to 2018, when Miniso was in the early stages of its globalization, it hired Japanese designer Miyake Junya as the chief designer, which made it promote itself as a “Japanese designer brand”. In the early stage of development, the company took a wrong path in brand positioning and marketing.

Miniso said that it is already in the process of “de-japanizing” its stores as early as 2019, and will complete the renovation of decoration and publicity materials of all stores around the world by March 31, 2023.

Miniso opened its first store in China in 2013, and its legal representative is Chinese entrepreneur Ye Guofu. More than 80% of the company’s product design originated from China, but many netizens have found that it often claimed to be a Japanese brand in the publicity of many international-level businesses. The logo of the company, as well as the products in its stores, have a distinctly Japanese style.

On July 25, Miniso‘s Spanish account posted a promotional post of “Princess Blind Box” on its Instagram. In the post, the dolls were obviously dressed in a Chinese cheongsam, but Miniso said that “your favorite Disney princess is dressed as a geisha,” sparking questions from observers. On the evening of August 9, the company issued a trilingual statement in Chinese, English, and Spanish, along with a letter from its agent, a screenshot of the Instagram apology statement, and other documents.

The Disney Princess blind box product (Source: Miniso)
The Disney Princess blind box product (Source: Miniso)

However, some netizens pointed out in the comments that the company’s profile on its social media account in Panama blatantly identifies itself as a brand founded in Japan.

In addition, one netizen who claimed to have worked in Miniso said that the company had a promotion exam, one of which was that Chinese songs were not allowed to be played in the store.

Some lamented the company’s strategy, saying, “Is it a shame to admit that you come from, originate and are founded in China and show it to the public? Please answer directly!” Another wrote, “Miniso is two-faced, is it a Chinese brand or a Japanese brand?”