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Chinese company gives away stoves after France’s World Cup win

French team sponsor Vatti promises millions of dollars of refunds, but it won’t be in cash

This article originally appeared on ABACUS
Unexpected results in this year’s World Cup frustrated many gamblers in China, but France’s victory has some unlikely punters cheering: Stove buyers.

Chinese kitchen appliance maker Vatti -- an official sponsor of the French team -- promised to refund customers for a variety of items bought last month, if Les Bleus clinched the trophy.

Just minutes after Sunday’s final match ended, Vatti announced on Weibo it was making good on the pledge: “To celebrate the French team’s triumph, Vatti now kicks off the full refund process!”
This is the team that helped some lucky shoppers score free stoves and dishwashers. (Picture: Vatti/WeChat)

Not everyone is eligible: For instance, if you bought a stove but opted for a free gift right away -- sorry, no free stove for you.

Those who made the right bet might be celebrating, but many are also wondering how Vatti is going to foot the bill.

One popular comment on Weibo asked cheekily, “Tell me, did you buy a lottery ticket betting on France winning?”

Meet Vivo, the FIFA World Cup sponsor you’ve never heard of

According to Chinese media, Vatti has said it will shoulder refunds for eligible products sold online, which amount to some 29 million yuan (US$4.3 million) -- just under 10 per cent of its total online sales during that period. Dealers will take care of refunds for products sold in physical stores, which made up another 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) -- or 7 per cent of total offline sales.

Vatti’s refunds won’t be in cash, though. Customers will get store credits for use on Tmall, and other online retailers.

(Abacus is a unit of the South China Morning Post, which is owned by Alibaba -- which also owns Tmall.)

This might be a publicity stunt, but it looks like a pretty successful one. On Monday, three of the top 50 trending searches on Weibo were related to Vatti.

As it turns out, Vatti isn’t the only one giving out free appliances for the World Cup. Belgian electronics company Krefel also promised full refunds for thousands of newly-bought TVs if Belgium scored more than 15 goals in the World Cup.

The Red Devils managed to score that decisive 16th goal in their 2-0 win over England in Saturday’s third-place match.

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