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03/01/02 . author unknown . Reuters . Beijing, CHINA
McDonald's in China Faces Fine Over Snoopy Promotion
McDonald's outlets in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou could face fines of 10,000 to 100,000 yuan ($1,200-12,000) after a Snoopy doll promotion which turned violent, the Xinhua news agency said on Thursday.
Dwindling supplies of the hot-selling cartoon canine doll triggered a run on the U.S. fast food giant's restaurants last May, resulting in scuffles among customers and a smashed window at one location.
An investigation by the city's industry and commerce administration found the chain's 34 Guangzhou outlets were not licensed to sell the toy, said Xinhua.
Provincial authorities would render a final decision on the alleged violation, which under Chinese law is punishable by a fine of 10,000 to 100,000 yuan, it said.
McDonald's in Guangzhou could not be reached for comment.
Last April, McDonald's started offering the eight-inch Snoopy dolls for 10 yuan apiece with a "value meal" in a two-days-a-week promotion.
McDonald's sold 233,140 Snoopy dolls in April and May, said Xinhua, citing investigators.
But the promotion soured after excited children, anxious parents and entrepreneurs keen on a quick buck thronged McDonald's outlets.
Disgruntled Guangzhou residents flooded McDonald's hot-lines with complaints after queueing for hours without getting their hands on a doll, state media have said.
Parents complained their children's education was on the line as disappointed students who collected anything but the full set of six dolls lacked the will to pursue their studies.
($1 equals 8.276 Yuan)