Ikea is to recall about 1.7 million chests and dressers of its popular Malm line, in China. This was announced by the General Administration of Quality Supervision (AQSIQ), a Chinese ministerial-level department that is in charge of quality control in the country. The department said the recall of the products which were manufactured from 1999 to 2016 was amid concerns that they could be dangerous to children and even kill them, if improperly fixed on the walls.
This follows Ikea recalling 29 million pieces from the same furniture line in June across North America, after the US Consumer Product Safety Commission found that at least six children had died since 1989 amid the improper fixing of this item of furniture. Ikea had then declined to extend the recall to China saying the products met local standards.
This had led to a lot of criticism from Chinese news agency Xinhua which even accused the company of double standards. Xinhua's editorial had said Ikea's service was not standard across the country. It said while some stores offered free installation services, a few others only offered free nails and charged for installation, as per a news report.
"The behaviour shown contradicts the 'Ikea spirit' that founder Ingvar Kamprad talks about, being helpful and responsible. China is a huge market, and should not be deprived of the high standards that the brand promises," the news agency had stated earlier.
Ikea said: "The potential danger to household safety from furniture toppling over is a serious problem for the entire homewares industry. Ikea promises to serve as a model in responding to this challenge."
While the dispute seems to have now settled, the incident has reportedly affected Ikea's brand image. Benjamin Cavender, senior analyst at China Market Research Group was quoted by the Financial Times as saying: "This is a great case of a company technically following the letter of the law but doing a poor job of protecting its brand image."