SEOUL, Feb. 17 (Korea Bizwire) — The home shopping industry is struggling with a constant shortage of masks due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Ministry of Science and ICT held an emergency meeting with home shopping businesses on Feb. 6, which decided to include a special program to sell masks.
Hyundai Home Shopping began airing a special program for masks on Hyundai Home Shopping Plus, a T-Commerce television channel, at 4 a.m. on Feb. 6. Online mask sales began 30 minutes earlier during regular server maintenance.
A total of 230 sets, each including 60 masks, sold out in only 2 minutes. Servers were shut down due to heavy traffic, and numerous consumer complaints were reported.
NS Home Shopping, in turn, aired the next round of mask sales after preparing 4,500 packages, each including 100 masks, on February 8 and 9.
Here, too, servers were shut down as well as phone calls. Some consumers even called for a boycott of the channel.
Following a series of server failures and complaints against mask sales on home shopping channels, the government decided to go take matters into its own hands.
The government, through the state-owned home shopping channel Gongyoung Shop, is hoping to disperse the concentration of orders by publicizing the date of the mask sales, which are to be conducted twice on the same day, but not the exact time.
The first round of the mask sales will commence on Wednesday. There will be 150,000 masks available for purchase, and each person will be entitled to buy a maximum of 40 masks.
The channel plans to continue the mask sales until a total of 1 million masks are sold.
Other businesses are disappointed by the government decision, calling it unfair, since Gongyoung Shop joined hands with the Ministry of SMEs and Startups and the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety who engaged in joint negotiations with mask producers to come up with the supply.
“We’ve literally toured the country to secure a supply of masks and sell them at the lowest price possible, but we are being accused of raising mask prices and facing a backlash from consumers,” said a local home shopping company.
Others complain that they can’t just sit and watch home shopping programs all day just for the mask sales to show up at a random time.
“Home shopping businesses are basically stuck between consumers and the government, and are being blamed for everything,” said another local home shopping firm.
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)