China mulls regulating sprawling mystery-box sales practices
China's top market watchdog is planning to regulate the country's fast-growing mystery-box economy to encourage above-board sales and rational spending.
Mystery boxes (or blind boxes) give a random item when opened, becoming a popular business model followed by toymakers, retailers, and souvenir designers.
Lured by mystery boxes' uncertainty, some consumers have fallen victim to irrational spending due to the man-made rarity and got misled by fake advertising based on information asymmetry.
Drugs, medical devices, specific cosmetics, and live animals are among the items banned from sales via mystery boxes, the State Administration for Market Regulation said in a draft guideline unveiled Tuesday for public opinion.
Besides, blind box products or services should not contain any contents prohibited by laws and regulations or violating public order and good morality, such as distortion of history and obscenity.
Market players should not induce consumption disguisedly by under-the-counter manipulation to change the results or probability of the purchases, the guideline pointed out, adding that empty blind boxes are not allowed.
Retailers are banned from selling mystery boxes to minors under the age of eight.
Gambling activities in the name of blind boxes or in a disguised form are also banned, the guideline said.