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Da Nang scotches rumor of popular beer brand sold to China

Thursday, December 31, 2015, 10:52 GMT+7
Da Nang scotches rumor of popular beer brand sold to China
A can of Larue Lemon is seen in this photo taken in Da Nang City, located in central Vietnam, on August 17, 2015.

​Authorities in Da Nang on Wednesday denied that one of the most popular beer brands in the central Vietnamese city has been sold to China, a rumor having made local consumers turn their back on the product.

Rumors have been swirling lately that Larue, the favorite brand of beer lovers in Da Nang and other nearby localities, had been acquired by a Chinese investor.

“The reality is that no such a deal has ever been inked,” Phan Van Kha, director of the city’s trade department, said at a meeting between the municipal administration and regulatory agencies.

The false report has indeed reduced consumption of Larue in the city and neighboring markets, as consumers “dislike” the supposed sale, Kha said, apparently referring to disapproval of Chinese-related products by Vietnamese.

Larue was first brewed in 1909 by Victor Larue, a Frenchman, and is now owned by the Vietnam Brewery Co. Ltd.

Although the brewery is based in Ho Chi Minh City, Larue beer is particularly favored in Da Nang.

But the most popular beer brand in central Vietnam is Huda, which is brewed and bottled in Hue, around 100km from Da Nang, by Habeco, which is 17.5 percent owned by Danish brewer Carlsberg.

A number of Chinese-related issues have arisen in Da Nang in recent times, including unlawful land purchases, illegal laborers, and Chinese firms in the guise of local businesses.

Da Nang Chairman Huynh Duc Tho therefore ordered at yesterday meeting that relevant agencies publicize information regarding their management of Chinese people and Chinese-developed constructions in the city.

“The press should keep the public posted about such issues so that they will not feel confused,” he said.

The chairman added that the administration will tighten supervision over the Chinese projects and the Chinese workforce in the city.

It has been reported that many Chinese nationals had entered Da Nang on tourist visas and stayed to work without a permit.

A group of 64 such illegal workers were deportedin the middle of this month.

The city’s Department of Planning and Investment is also verifying reports that some Chinese have asked Vietnamese people to found companies and have them registered under their names to illegally operate in the locale.

Four such firms, which have Vietnamese directors but are in fact funded by Chinese investors, are now under the scanner, the department said on Tuesday.

One of the four is the H.A natural rubber showroom in Cam Le District, which turned down local visitors and only opened the door to Chinese tourists.

The facility was last week fined VND15.5 million (US$692) for selling bedding accessories imported from China without quality certification and the required sub-labels in Vietnamese.

The other three firms also run for-Chinese-only stores and showrooms, according to the investment department.

Authorities have discovered that 71 local residents had bought a total of 137 plots of land in Da Nang on behalf of Chinese nationals, with officials admitting that the rising number of Chinese visitors to the city has caused myriad problems for them.

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