The ghost of having one of its investors embroiled in a scandal just before showtime has returned to haunt Shark Tank Vietnam, the Vietnamese adaptation of the American business-related reality television series, in its upcoming third season.
Shark Tank Vietnam debuted in 2017 and its third season is scheduled to be on air next month.
Every episode shows aspiring entrepreneurs making business presentations to a panel of investors, or “sharks,” who decide whether to invest in their company as business partners.
The investors include main and guest sharks, with the latter not featured in all episodes of a season.
In an announcement late Monday, the producers of Shark Tank Vietnam said they had made changes to the investor panel, with one guest shark, Pham Van Tam, chairman of Asanzo Vietnam, no longer participating in the show.
“The other sharks remain in the investor panel as earlier announced,” the producers said on the show’s Facebook page.
The Asanzo chairman lost his Shark Tank seat a few days after an exposé by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper unearthed the firm's shady practice in stating the country of origin of its electronic products, including TVs, air conditioners and home appliances.
The Tuoi Tre articles provided evidence of Asanzo Vietnam’s selling finished products imported from China and devices assembled from Chinese parts under the guise of ‘Made in Vietnam’ goods.
Shark Tank Vietnam will be aired on national television VTV. The broadcaster said on Monday that it would temporarily suspend airing episodes with the presence of the Asanzo chairman.
As the program has already finished filming, it remains unclear how it will be edited so that shark Tam will not be seen in any of the third season’s episodes.
The case of Tam is eerily similar to what happened to another guest shark of Shark Tank Vietnam in the first season in 2017.
In October that year, Hoang Khai, the owner of the Vietnamese popular silk brand Khaisilk, asked to withdraw from the show, shortly after a headline-grabbing scandal over the company’s product labeling unfolded.
It was discovered that the ‘premium’ Khaisilk scarves, marketed as being made from Vietnamese silk by local craft villages, were all sourced from China.
The Chinese products would have their ‘Made in China’ label replaced with a ‘Made in Vietnam’ one before being put on sale.
Hoang Khai withdrew from the show just less than a month before the first episode was aired.