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October 26, 2012

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Nike steps into series of quality scandals

SPORTSWEAR manufacturing giant Nike has become involved in a series of quality scandals in Shanghai and other major Chinese cities.

Shanghai quality authorities said yesterday they're examining three sample pairs of Nike shoes after one design of its product was found last month to have soles that were too thin and did not meet standards.

The announcement of the Shanghai Quality and Technical Supervision Bureau coincided with a 4.87 million yuan (US$780,237) fine on Nike by the market watchdog in Beijing, announced one day earlier, after it was found to use deceptive advertising and double standards for one of its basketball shoes on China's mainland.

In Shanghai, the quality bureau is still waiting for the results of the checks on the three pairs of shoes, results of which may be announced at the end of October, said Shen Weimin, deputy director of the bureau.

In the Shanghai case, women's sports shoes by Nike made in July 2011 were found to have thinner soles than required, bureau officials found in September.

The bureau later ordered Nike to stop producing and selling the problem shoes and recall them, but they were still available at the Zhabei outlet of RT-MART on October 10, Shen said. The shoes were then pulled off the shelves.

In the case that was subject to the Beijing fine, Nike's Zoom Hyperdunk 2011 was found to be of lower quality than advertised in September 2011. A customer, Wang Hai, famous for exposing low quality and counterfeit products, found there was only one Zoom air cushion under each shoe instead of two as advertised.

Wang found that the same shoes at overseas markets, such as in the United States and Taiwan, were equipped with double Zoom air cushions. The price of the shoe in America was US$125 per pair, and 1,299 yuan (US$208) at the mainland stores.

Nike China later apologized for the misleading advertising and offered refunds for the buyers, according to Xinhua. But the company didn't avoid punishment. The Beijing Administration for Industry and Commerce said Nike had used a double standard, selling inferior products on the mainland but not in other markets.

"Nike is always one of my favorite sports brands, especially its basketball shoes," said Zhang Linan, a college student. "I never thought that I had paid 500 yuan more to buy a pair of shoes with two fewer cushions. It's just immoral for such a big company."


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