Vietnamese leading TikToker boycotted for undercutting retailers

By Hoang Nguyen   April 13, 2023 | 11:01 pm PT
Vietnamese leading TikToker boycotted for undercutting retailers
A screenshot of Vo Ha Linh in a restaurant review video
Vo Ha Linh, a renowned Vietnamese TikToker, has been boycotted for collaborating with a company to undercut distributors and sell shampoo products at prices five times cheaper than their market value.

Earlier this month, Linh, who has 3.7 million followers on TikTok, was hired by a pharmaceutical company to sell two of their shampoo products on a livestream. The products were sold for price tags of VND11,000 and VND18,000 ($0.47 and $0.77), compared to retail prices of VND60,000-79,000 the company set for distributors.

The company later told Tuoi Tre Newspaper that the offer they made with Linh was a short-time-only special promotion and that the number of products sold during the livestream was limited. They issued an apology to distributors on Facebook, while Linh also apologized in a video posted on April 8.

However, the incident still upset distributors of the products as well as some netizens, whose ire has been raised by one of Vietnam’s most famous local social media personalities before.

Both the company and Linh were criticized for lowering the value of the products. "She's damaging the retailers. Now it's hard for them to sell these products for the same price that they used to," user Nhan Ken commented.

Following the episode, Linh, who previously did reviews of local restaurants and street diners, has received a new wave of even bigger backlash for the critical postings she made in the past.

For example, in one video of Linh dining at a local restaurant, she said she disapproved of the food there and went so far as to say that "even if it [the food] were free I wouldn't eat here again."

Social media commentators are now calling Linh arrogant and suggesting she change her attitude. Some have said her opinions expressed in the negative reviews about restaurants harmed the livelihoods of the businesspeople she criticized.

"Ha Linh should acknowledge her influence on social media," user Mac Quyet commented. "She can put a small business in trouble with only one negative review. Next time she should think about the consequences before putting out a video."

On Facebook, several anti-Vo Ha Linh groups have formed following the controversies. Standing out among them are the "Anti-Vo Ha Linh Club" and its 130,000 members, as well as the 60,000-member group "AVHL – CTLL."

But some supporters have defended Linh and her content.

"I like how honest she is in her reviews. If she talks positively about everything, then she’s just another reviewer. Her [critical eyes] is what makes her different and unique," wrote user Dan Vy.

In another video posted Wednesday on Linh’s Facebook page, which has 1.7 million followers, the controversial media personality apologized to the shops that she had written negative reviews about and announced that she would stop reviewing restaurants and eateries.

Linh, 33, rose to fame as a beauty blogger reviewing products on social media. Aside from TikTok, she also owns a YouTube channel that has 1.9 million subscribers.

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