Shanghai Releases Guidelines on Mystery Box Sales



· 1月15日

Vendors are prohibited from pricing mystery boxes above 200 yuan, according to the guideline.

Image: Visual China

BEIJING, January 14 (TMTPOST) — Shanghai’s market regulator released a Guideline on Mystery Box Business Activities on Friday, banning businesses from selling mystery boxes to minors under eight years old and pricing mystery boxes above 200 yuan (about US$7) .

The guideline also specifies a number of items that cannot be sold in the form of mystery box. Items that are prohibited to be sold in mystery boxes include special food products, medicine, medical equipment, toxic and harmful substances, flammable items and animals among many others. According to the guideline, items that can be sold through mystery boxes include daily consumable items, entertainment products and cultural items.

In addition, the price of mystery boxes should match the value of items inside, the guideline states. Vendors are prohibited from pricing mystery boxes above 200 yuan (about US$7)

Besides the pricing, Shanghai’s market regulator also stresses in the guidelines that mystery box businesses must be transparent with the play rules involving the mystery boxes, informing consumers about the type of items that are contained in the mystery boxes and the probability to get the rare items. Mystery box businesses should also keep records of such information and sales results of the mystery boxes for inspection.

The guideline is effective within Shanghai’s administration and applies to operators of businesses that involve mystery boxes, including the production and sales of mystery boxes, exhibitions and marketing that involve mystery boxes, etc.

Shanghai’s market regulator encourages mystery box businesses to provide consumers with a minimal-guarantee mechanism, which guarantees consumers to get certain items after purchasing a certain amount of mystery boxes.

Mystery box is a hot business in China. Consumers are crazed for getting rare items from mystery boxes, such as getting rare characters from toy collections. However, the gacha-game-like nature of mystery boxes is controversial as it resembles gambling and artificially inflates market demands. Multinational fast-food chain KFC, for example, was recently called out by China Consumers Association for causing food waste with its crossover promotion campaign with mystery box maker Pop Mart because consumers would need to purchase at least six Dimoo Mystery Box meals in order to get the full collection of Dimoo toys in the best case scenario. Some consumers have spent a lot on purchasing the Dimoo Mystery Box meals to get the toys.

See also: KFC Called Out by China Consumers Association for Causing Overconsumption

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