What happened: Chinese sprinter and Tokyo Olympics medalist Su Bingtian is suing parent company of online fashion resale marketplace Poizon for image rights violations after the platform illegally used his photo. The news quickly reached Weibo, making the hashtag #SuBingtianSuesPoizonforInfringement the 4th most trending topic of the day. At the time of publication, the related hashtags have received a total of 248 million views.
The e-tailer has already released a public statement online addressing the growing backlash. Even though the case is not expected to be heard until early July, Poizon has already admitted that his August 2021 celebratory post infringes on Su’s image rights and apologized for what he called a mischief.
Founded in 2015, Poizon offers authentic sneakers, clothing, bags, watches and accessories from designer brands and luxury groups, as well as works of art, as well as its own dedicated authentication service. As of May 2021, it had 81 million monthly active users.
The Jing plug: Poizon is now in a precarious position in the continent’s tech ecosystem. In the past month alone, complaint site Black Cat received a total of 7,639 complaints about the company. But his reputational damage precedes that a long time ago. In early 2022, when the Shanghai Municipal Supervision Bureau conducted random inspections of clothing accessories, shoes, luggage and other products on nine e-commerce live streaming rooms, Poizon had the unqualified rate the highest among all the platforms studied: as much as 50 percentmainly due to counterfeits as well as long review times and slow refunds.
This is particularly worrying for a company whose user base (nearly 90 percent) are younger buyers. According Chinese Youth Daily, a recent survey showed that 88% of 2,005 respondents considered brand reputation to be a major consideration when shopping online. This percentage is over 90% for consumers born after 2000. This most recent backlash and high rate of complaints seem worrisome for the app. — and brands must take this into account.
Coach, Zenith, Michael Kors and Stuart Weitzman recently joined the online platform to reach young local consumers. But, as the furor mounts and the investors come out, the miffed netizens arrive: “I already deleted the ‘fake products’ app last year!” and “Why hasn’t it gone bankrupt yet?”
Sources familiar with the matter reported that ByteDance is considering selling its minority stake in the company. It is a clear sign. Luxury should think twice before switching to a resale site that has, over time, lost the trust of young buyers. This latest case against a national sports hero could be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Will China’s StockX ever be able to repair its tarnished image? Who knows, but luxury can’t afford to take that risk.
The Jing Plug reports on high-profile news and features our editorial team’s analysis of key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product declines and mergers to heated debates popping up on Chinese social media.