January 18, 2022
SHANGHAI – Shanghai has issued guidelines on the sale of blind boxes-which contain at least one unknown surprise item-in a move to protect consumers’ interests.
Some of the clauses in the guideline have triggered public discussion, including one that says a blind box should not be priced over 200 yuan ($31), and another that bans the sale of blind boxes to children under 8 years old.
Released by the Shanghai Municipal Market Supervision Bureau on Friday, the guideline said blind box operators must clearly mark on the package the number of each type of blind box series produced, and the probability of getting the surprise item.
“It also said that when a consumer continues to purchase the same blind box product, and if he or she has spent a certain amount of money on them or has bought it a certain number of times, the consumer can get a surprise type of the series or the entire series,” said Wu Yandong, deputy head of the bureau’s competition division.
The guideline, imposed on all blind box business operators-both online and offline-in Shanghai, said the products in the boxes must be daily items, artworks or for recreation.
Commodities with strict requirements for storage and shipping or conditions of use, such as special food, drugs, medical devices, toxic and hazardous items, flammable articles and explosives, and live animals, cannot be sold in blind boxes, it said.
Last year, blind boxes containing live puppies and kittens appeared in cities including Shanghai and Chengdu, Sichuan province, and many were found dying after staying in express delivery boxes for hours. Netizens widely condemned such business behavior.
The guideline also said that blind box operators shall not carry out excessive marketing, and sales to children aged 8 and above can only take place after consent of their guardians is obtained.
In recent years there have been reports of some individuals purchasing a colossal number of blind boxes in order to obtain a certain surprise item, while others have bought them at high prices in the secondhand market.
Pop Mart, a leading domestic blind box producer and toymaker, said it will actively respond to the guideline and explore detailed plans to put the requirements into practice.