Fast food giant McDonald's outlets in this southern China city could be fined between 10,000 and 100,000 yuan (US$1,205-12,048) for selling toys for which it is not registered.
As a sales promotion during April and May 2001, McDonald's 34 chain stores in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong Province, offered a toy of the cartoon character Snoopy for 10 yuan (US$1.20) with each McDonald's meal.
Ye Lilin, deputy principal of a local high school and a deputy of the municipal people's congress of Guangzhou, proposed in late May the practice be stopped, saying this was an unfair sales promotion activity.
The city's administration for industry and commerce said in its response to Ye's proposal that many customers had complained about the sales promotion. Its investigation shows that the McDonald's restaurants sold 233,140 Snoopy toys in April and May.
McDonald's is licensed to sell food, beverages and package materials, but not toys.
The administration believes that McDonald's allegedly violated Chinese laws by selling things other than food and beverages.
The results of the investigation have been submitted to the provincial administration for industry and commerce. Guangzhou authorities are waiting for an official reply from the province.
According to the Chinese law on company registration, any company which is involved in business for which it is not registered will be fined from 10,000 to 100,000 yuan.
(People's Daily January 3, 2002)