Chinese e-commerce platforms have been selling hanfu under a category labeled “Chinese hanbok,” triggering backlash among millions of Korean users.
Hanbok is a kind of traditional Korean clothing, and hanfu refers to traditional dress worn by ethnic Han people in China.
According to a Tuesday report by the JoongAng Ilbo, an affiliate of the Korea JoongAng Daily, Chinese e-commerce platforms AliExpress and Temu were selling hanfu for children and adults while categorizing them as “Chinese hanbok.”
Both platforms have millions of Korean users, and some Koreans are saying that classifying hanfu as hanbok is deceptive.
According to mobile data analysis company WiseApp, AliExpress’s monthly active users surpassed 7 million, and Temu’s exceeded 3.5 million in November in Korea.
“Such product classification is misleading and an act of deceiving Korean consumers,” Seo Kyoung-duk, a professor at Sungshin Women’s University, said. “In recent years, China has been insisting that hanbok originated from hanfu. AliExpress strings people along with the country’s assertion.”
“The search results of hanbok show hanfu altogether, which might confuse non-Korean shoppers,” Seo said. “If Chinese corporations operate business in Korea, they should show the courtesy of respecting Korean culture. However, they failed to do so.”
Cultural feuds between people in the two countries have long existed. People in China last year claimed Kimchi was a Chinese dish, angering many Koreans.
BY HAN JEE-HYE [firstname.lastname@example.org]