A furniture company is being investigated after it was revealed that products said to be imported from Italy were made in China.
According to a report by China Central Television, products sold by Shanghai-based DaVinci Furniture Ltd were sent to Italy and then back to China so they could qualify for import certificates.
A customer surnamed Tang said she had bought about 40 pieces of furniture from the company, valued at more than 2.8 million yuan (US$700,000).
The company said almost all the furniture was imported from Italy, but she found many problems with the pieces.
The furniture gave out a strong chemical smell, and the size of a single bed, which cost 100,000 yuan, was 30 centimeters shorter than advertised.
Tang said the company told her the size difference was because of "the standard difference between China and Italy."
When Tang sent the furniture to the country's furniture inspection center for tests, it found that a television set cabinet was made from high density boards instead of solid wood, CCTV reported.
DaVinci has outlets in Shanghai and several other major cities such as Beijing, Guangzhou and Chongqing. It sells furniture brands such as Cappelletti, Hollywood and Jewel and its advertisements claim that almost all the furniture sold at their outlets are "made of high-class pollution-free wood material."
The company told CCTV that the carving on Cappelletti furniture was made of a very rare wood only found in a small Italian town.
The Cappelletti manufacturers in Italy, however, told CCTV that the carvings were made from common resin material.
Meanwhile, a furniture manufacturer called Jinfenghuang in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, told CCTV that not all the furniture sold by DaVinci was imported. Later, in Dongguan, CCTV found a furniture company called Changfeng which admitted that they produced the so-called imported furniture, which was made of resin and high density boards.
Changfeng also said that DaVinci told them in an email not to use solid wood.
Peng Jie, general manager of Changfeng, told CCTV that after the furniture left the plant, it was transported to Italy and then sent back to town so that the company could qualify for import certificates.
The Shanghai Industrial and Commercial Administrative Bureau yesterday inspected all the companies' branch stores and two warehouses, registering and sealing questioned products.
Officials found that on the packaging used for the furniture, it only said "imported from Italy," but didn't say where it had been made.
The bureau didn't order the company to stop business, however.
"Specific punishment will be announced after the investigation," said Zhang Yusong, a bureau official.