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Taiwan: Failed ‘Made in Taiwan’ Clothing Promise Disappoints

Taiwan's garment market has gained competition in the past few years; fashion brands from Japan and Spain have entered the Taiwanese market and attracted local consumers. The long queues outsides foreign fashion brand flagship stores have become a news focus.

Local brand, Lativ, has managed to survive in the competition by its online shopping and ‘Made-in-Taiwan’ marketing strategy. The design of Lativ is similar to Japanese fashion brand Uniqlo, targeting the popular market with very low price. Its fashions are sold online via popular portal websites such as Yahoo! Kimo [zh], and YouTube Ads with catchy slogans such as “Made in Taiwan” (MIT), and “A Renaissance of the Taiwan Garment Industry”.

Lativ has been very successful in the local market. In 2011, its annual sales reached [New Taiwanese Dollar] NT 4 billion (approximately USD 12 million) and its staff had 40 months salary as their bonus, and its success has encouraged many local entrepreneurs to enter the popular fashion market.

Screen capture from Lativ

Screen capture from Lativ

However, in early February 2012, its website issued a statement [zh] that ruined the image of its Taiwanese brand:

2月初,当大家刚从春节假期回到工作岗位时,我们换上了新系统,以全新面貌持续为大家服务。

2/1当日涌进许多大家对新系统的建议与想法,其中留言主题数量最为庞大的,是希望我们恢复产品说明内既有的产地标示。

其实,成衣业在台湾的产能相当吃紧,最主要的原因是台湾成衣生产线上极度缺乏劳工投入。

相关说明请您参考此篇日志:MIT的现况与困境

从2010年开始,lativ不得不将台湾厂商无法负荷的订单,逐步转往越南、印尼、大陆等地,但有些原料则仍是从台湾生产,如何标示服饰产地对我们来说,一直有担心误导消费者的隐忧。

“品质”是lativ创始至今的核心价值,不过大家总认为我们以MIT做为销售诉求却将订单移至海外生产,诸多误解的声音让我们重新思考在页面上标注产地的做法。

最终,我们决定移除商品页面上的产地标注,但服饰上的吊牌仍按照台湾法令,具备明确的标示说明。

若您非“台湾制造”不买,我们诚恳地建议,请您确认后再下单,因为台湾已经没有这样的生产环境。从2007年开站至今的我们,面对台湾产业的变化,说出这句话倍觉沉重。但可以向您保证的是,lativ在追求品质与穿着安全上的用心。

我们目前配合的工厂,已经提升到全球第一大的生产线,同时也是世界知名品牌的重点生产工厂,2012年的所有产品也符合CNS 15290相关检验规范,请您安心选购。

This February, when you returned back to your work after the Spring festival, we had changed into a new system with a new image for our service.

On February 1, we received a lot of opinions about the new system, most of the comments asking us to restore the “Made in Taiwan” [MIT] tag.

However, we do not have enough of a labour force for a production line in the Taiwanese garment industry. Please refer to this blog post: ‘The conditions and challenges of Made in Taiwan‘ [zh].

Since 2010, Lativ has started to relocate production to Vietnam, Indonesia and Mainland China as the local factories [in Taiwan] could not afford to take our order. Some raw materials are still locally produced. However, the ‘Made in Taiwan’ tag would be misleading to our consumers.

The core value of Lativ is always ‘quality’. However, when our production was relocated overseas, we had to adjust the MIT tag.

Eventually, we will remove the origin of production tag but keep other details according to Taiwanese law.

If you have to stick to ‘Made in Taiwan’ products, let us sincerely remind you to be cautious before you place any order, as we do not have such a production environment in Taiwan. Since our establishment in 2007, we have witnessed the change in Taiwan garment industry, and we also feel very sad to speak out about such facts. However, we would like to assure you that we will continue to provide top quality products.

The factories that we are working with are the best quality ones in the global production lines. They produce the most well-established global brands. All our products in 2012 will strictly follow the CNS 15290 requirement. Please be assured of our quality.

The statement has stirred up a heated debate online. Many netizens feel disappointed and cheated and they call for a boycott of Lativ's product. Prominent blogger Miss pretty Xixi's opinion is most representational of netizens’ opinions [zh]:

当时是谁口口声声说 要给台湾产业一个机会?

现在却跟我们说 一切都是误解

若您非“台湾制造”不买,我们诚恳地建议,请您不要下单

讲白话一点就是

不 爽 不 要 买~ 登登!

不但已经不是”MIT”

甚至连产地都不标示在网页上了

好啦不是MIT没关系 我买淘宝货买韩货也不是MIT

但至少说一下是哪里产的吧!囧>

而不是像抽抽乐一样

收到衣服看到标签才知道是哪国来的衣服吧~!

噗友说得好

爱台湾对商人而言 不过就是个用完就丢的工具罢了

我个人感觉到非常地

可惜……..且可悲……….

Who said “Give Taiwan Industry a Change” at the very beginning?

Now you say everything is a misunderstanding

If you have to stick to “Made in Taiwan”, let us sincerely remind you…

[In simple terms] don't buy if you are unhappy! Ha!

Not only that it is no longer “MIT”

It has removed the origin of production from its websites

It is okay that the products are not “MIT”, when I shop in Taobao [zh] [Mainland China online shopping platform], the products are not “MIT”

But at least you should tell me where they come from!

Rather than making it like a lottery..

Only to find out where it comes from after we received the clothes.

Well spoken by friends from plurk [zh] [Taiwanese microblogging platform]

Love for Taiwan is just a tool for businessmen

I feel so disappointed… and sad……

Another blogger Zen called for a boycott [zh]:

当初Lativ不就是标榜因为台湾纺织业环境不容易

所以要给一个机会 而这个诉求被大众所认同

所以强大起来

结果今天竟然用同样的理由

作为外移的藉口

确实荒谬

我曾经也买过很多Lativ

身边很多朋友也买

不过 从今天开始 我个人不会再买

诚如官方宣言所说的 :若您非“台湾制造”不买,我们诚恳地建议,请您不要下单,因为台湾已经没有这样的生产环境。

我不是非MIT不买

而是看不起这样的厂商才不买…

这世界上成衣品牌那么多

何必让这些拿热血当行销话术壮大自己后又狠狠抛弃的厂商赚….

你不一定需要抵制

只是如果你当初也是被该公司的热血小故事所感动而决定购买该公司的产品

至少你应该瞭解该公司已经做出营运管理上的变化

你应该重新审思 这样一个公司 背弃自己的承诺的公司(找一堆理由替自己的背弃合法化不难 难的是找到方法克服困难而不背弃承诺)

是否要继续支持

反正我是不会支持了….

At first Lativ told us that the Taiwan garment industry was in difficult conditions
That's why they asked us to give it a chance. We accept thatThat's why they become strong

Now they use the same reason to relocate

This is so absurd

I used to buy a lot of Lativ clothes

And my friends are also their customers

But I won't buy from them again

Like what the official statement has suggested: “If you have to stick to ‘Made in Taiwan’, let us sincerely remind you to be cautious before you place the order, as we do not have such a production environment in Taiwan.”

I am not a MIT fundamentalist

But I look down upon such a business…

There are so many fashion brands in this world

Why do you have to market with a hot-blooded slogan and then trash it…

You do not have to join this boycott

However, if you have been attracted by its hot-blooded story

You had better be aware of the change in their ways of operation

You should reconsider whether to continue supporting a company that betrays its own promise (and justifies it rather than overcomes the challenge)

I won't support it anymore.

Another famous blogger Sumi Chen, author of “Taiwan Treasure” and a promoter of local brands, has recommended Lativ in the past. She said in her Facebook profile [zh] that she would no longer support this brand:

我承认当初在部落格大力推荐这么品牌,是因为看到该品牌网站一则小故事,品牌拥有者声称因为不忍心看到台湾许多优秀的阿嬷裁缝失业,所以Lativ愿意为台湾成衣业在网路找一条生路。那个故事太热血了,画面中,车衣服的阿嬷手纹太催泪了,当时总是想着,如果可以因为自己的消费,让台湾成衣业活存下来,很多人有工作,可以留在台湾跟家人生活在一起,不必到异乡奋斗,贵一点也没关系,那么,为什么不支持呢?

然后Lativ在网友的热血支持之下,逐渐壮大,壮大到台湾市场吃不下他们的订单,台湾没有足够的技术支援他们,当初为了扶植台湾阿嬷裁缝的心愿,后来好像成为他们的难处。

I admitted that I have highly recommended this brand in my blog before. I was moved by its story that they wanted to support local unemployed tailors who are middle aged ladies. They wanted to open up a new path for the Taiwan garment industry. The story was too hot-blooded. I still remember the pictures showing the winkles of these old ladies’ hands. I believed that if we could use our consumer power to help Taiwan garment industry to survive and provide jobs for these Taiwanese, so that they did not have to leave their families in Taiwan and work overseas, it would be OK to pay more and support such an endeavor.

Then Lativ grows quickly with the support of hot-blooded netizens. It grows so big that the Taiwanese market could not consume all its orders, that Taiwan does not have enough technical support to keep up their growth. Their dream to support the middle aged tailors has become an obstacle now.

There are also quite a number of discussions on Twitter. Below is a selection of comments:

@Osmosis404: Lativ,a brand that insists in producing cloth with local factories in Taiwan,changed it's promise for gaining profit. flpbd.it/7IpwE

@simmmons: 我对Lativ坚不坚持台湾制造没有意见,纯粹讨厌公告文里一副天下人负我的假高尚。又,如果当初你是靠台湾人近乎盲目的爱国心起家,现在就别怪消费者由爱生恨的反感抵制。

@simmmons: I don't insist that Lativ does not stick to MIT but I hate its pretense and arrogance. If your foundation is based upon Taiwanese's love for their country, you have to accept their resentment and boycott stemmed from their love.

@ivanusto: 可以抵制Lativ品牌服饰的方法有很多种,除了不买以外,对这个品牌价值的观感降到最低,也会影响已经购买Lativ服饰的消费者,当越来越多人不敢穿Lativ服装上街时,Lativ就不会再是话题了。就和香港H和G牌这两个平民服饰会有人讨论吗? 类似感觉。演变成更庶民的基本需求品牌。

@ivanusto: There are different ways to boycott Lativ. Apart from stopping buying, the public evaluation of the brand would also affect other consumers and more people would be ashamed of wearing the brand in the street. Lativ will not be a talking point that. Similar to the H&G brands in Hong Kong, just stop talking about it then it would become just another brand.

@kaxing: 只能说 lativ 玩火自焚,平价品牌没有死忠用户就灰飞烟灭了。

@kaxing: Lativ is burning itself. Without fans, popular brand cannot survive.

@chuiyi: 从Lativ事件看台湾企业可以发现一件不变的铁则:脑子可以换钱,但钱换不回脑子

@chuiyi: What we can learn from Lativ's story is that: you can get money from idea, but money cannot buy idea.

@RetonKao: Lativ没救了。连MIT最初的品牌信念都摒弃,呼了一堆买过lativ的消费者狠狠一巴掌。商人的贪婪面终究还是跑出来了。

@RetonKao: This is the end of Lativ. Their giving up of MIT is like slapping their customers. Its greedy face has been revealed.

@pofeng: “为什么台湾失去了制造 Lativ 的工作 ? ” 老板说: “那些工作不会回来了” 转头继续发 40 个月年终 。i.imgur.com/VEYbX.jpg

@pofeng: How come Taiwan loses Lativ's manufacturing order?” The boss said “The job won't be returned” then he continues to give 40-month bonus to his staff: 。i.imgur.com/VEYbX.jpg

@hirakujira: 抵制完Lativ之后就可以正大光明地排队去买uniqlo跟Zara了欧耶

@hirakujira: Upon boycotting Lativ, people could shift to foreign brands like Uniqlo and Zara with peace in their heart.

@pipperl: 忘了说,lativ 能把冬衣做得那么薄的确需要过人的技术。 #lativ

@pipperl: The fact that their winter clothes could be so thin reality takes some special skill. #lativ

@watertseng: 或许 #lativ 还是会继续卖的很好,赚更多的钱,但是它让一些原本认同它理念的人感到失望,犹如是欺骗一个人的感情 。

@watertseng: Perhaps #lativ will continue to make good profit but it has disappointed its supporters, it is like cheating in love relation.

3 comments

  • Alex

    Hi, I am a MBA student who was just looking for paper material. Then find this article and decided to use Lativ as my research topic.

    I wasn’t serious about CSR to be honest, even though I knew about Lativ’s decision but like most of the people, I just think in terms of the causality of Lativ. The right or wrong decision like you show in this article is debatable, and I didn’t want to spend time on this endless debate.

    As this is a good CSR website and you are all good article writers, I please you to read the following blog, even if you might not agree with me but I still wish if someone can translate this story and post it in English.

    This blog is not about why Lativ made such decision, it is what fundamentally lead Lativ and many other clothing brand made the same choice. It is about the bloger’s life and how her family live through the up and down of textile industry in Taiwan.

    The case of Lativ is interesting to see, on the surface, in terms of brand and core competency. But most of people don’t see what is really beneath the surface. I hope this blog can bring CSR deeper in the root for this case.

    Thank you

    Blog address: A child raised by Textile factory
    http://beckyhw8164.pixnet.net/blog/post/14939259-%E4%B8%80%E5%80%8B%E6%88%90%E8%A1%A3%E9%A4%8A%E5%A4%A7%E7%9A%84%E5%AD%A9%E5%AD%90%EF%BC%8C%E5%BE%9Elativ%E4%BA%8B%E4%BB%B6%E7%9C%8B%E6%88%90%E8%A1%A3%E5%B7%A5%E6%A5%AD

  • Dear Alex,

    This is the first post originally written in Chinese and then translated in English – it makes me happy that you found this information useful for your paper. I’ll pass on your story idea to the Chinese team. Is that your own blog?

    Best
    Paula

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