Popular Chinese retail brand Miniso apologizes for pretending to be Japanese

Dollar store brand Miniso is Chinese-based, but has been positioning themselves as a "Japanese lifestyle brand" for years.

Now, they're scrambling to apologize for describing themselves this way.

Last week, Miniso apologized on social media for calling themselves a Japanese designer brand, calling it a "wrong direction" and saying they're proud to be Chinese.

Miniso, based in Guangdong in China, opened its first store in Guangzhou in 2013 and manufactures most of its products in China, but also called Japanese designer Miyake Junya a co-founder alongside Chinese founder Ye Guofu.

The company says they have been "de-Japanizing" since 2019 and that Japanese elements should be gone from their marketing and storefronts by next spring. In 2019, Junya and mentions of being Japanese were already gone from their website and documents.

More recently, Miniso Spain incorrectly described Disney Princesses wearing Chinese cheongsam as wearing Japanese geisha, causing outcry. Both the Chinese company and Miniso Spain issued apologies, the statement about apologizing for pretending to be Japanese coming later.

Miniso has also been accused of copyright infringement and stealing designs.

Miniso opened their first Toronto store in 2017 and soon shot up to 13 stores in the GTA. In 2018 Miniso Canada was accused of fraudulent business dealings, though they did deny this.

In all the confusion, you can be forgiven for mixing up various brands and where they're from, especially as there's even another Chinese store that almost directly copies Miniso called Mumuso, which is supposed to be Korean-inspired.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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