Thursday, June 27, 2013

McD Hello Kitty toy on eBay Bidding

People are willing to do crazy things for anything. It is the trend for Hello Kitty plush toys and they are sold out within the first day of the collection. Due to the demand for Hello Kitty plush toy from McDonald's, these collection can be sold up to $126,000 on eBay in Singapore.

$126,000 bid for Hello Kitty plush toy on eBay
A winning bid for McDonald's limited edition Singing Bone plush toy on eBay comes at a hefty price of $126,000, and that is only one of the many bids STOMPers have come across online.

The seller of the $126,000 bid had asked for buyers to contact him directly on his phone, as fake eBay accounts have been created in order to outbid sincere buyers.

A STOMPer also noticed that Chinese shopping site Taobao offers a similar Singing Bone Hello Kitty for only 35 yuan (S$7.20).

STOMPer Ryan said:

"People on eBay are bidding from $50 to even $100,000 for the McDonald's limited edition Singing Bone Hello Kitty!!!

"A few other bids from $20,000 to $50,000.

"How crazy is this going to get!?"

STOMPer Artz said:

"Hot news!!!!

"Unbelievable pricing seen on eBay!!!

"Are they crazy or what!!!

"$126k bidding!!!"

STOMPer tyt said:

"I just saw bids for the new McDonald's black Hello Kitty hit $28k.

"The winning bid is $126k.

"Crazy people."

STOMPer hihikitty said:

"Are you serious?!

"Singapore residents are slaves to blatant consumerism.

"Unscrupulous retailers/resellers and crazy buyers rear their ugly heads as soon after the N95 mask shortage."

STOMPer hellokittycraze said:

"Have Singaporeans lost all their common sense?

"Queuing and fighting over a useless piece of toy.

"The eBay bidding for the 'limited edition' Singing Bone Hello Kitty really takes the icing on the cake."

STOMPer shyy said:

"Highest ever eBay bid for a Hello Kitty toy at $126k!"

STOMPer Adrian said:

"Ridiculous pricing for re-selling of Hello Kitty doll."

STOMPer Reggie said:

"Look at the online prices."

STOMPer Yiwei said:

"Happened to view this on eBay Singapore and I just wonder if any people will buy it?

"Good luck to seller."

STOMPer Rachel noticed a similar plush toy on Taobao and said:

"Hello Kitty limited edition, why queue when you can get it for $7?"

In less than 24 hours since the release of McDonald's limited edition Hello Kitty plush toys, stocks have run out at outlets island-wide and are being resold at marked up prices online.

STOMPers expressed their displeasure at scalpers who bought the plush toys in bulk, only to resell them for profit now.

One person had even asked for $200 for the purchase of his coupon (Photo 1), previously given out by McDonald's staff.

STOMPer Chris said:

"I find this action despicable and disgusting.

"Buying 16 black Hello Kitties and selling on facebook for 50 bucks each!

"This kind of disgraceful act should be made known to the whole of Singapore to shame them, and to prevent people from buying from them."

STOMPer Ding Dong said:

"They just bought a lot of them to sell them at a higher price. Happens for every edition where people buy more than one toy.

"They buy a lot and sell them to earn profits, and those who queue at the back didn't get anything.

"It's not fair for those Hello Kitty lovers who wanted to collect the full set."

STOMPer Tan said:

"Saw a person online criticizing people who buy and sell Hello Kitty.

"She even claimed to give away her extras.

"In the end, she posted on McDonald's facebook page that she is selling the plush toys.

"Why Singapore girls like that?"

STOMPer Jason said:

"Will you be willing to spend $80 for a Hello Kitty?!

"Insane pricing. This is definitely daylight robbery."

STOMPer Eileen said:

"Hello Kitty fans are not able to purchase their kitties because of black hearted people like these!"

A STOMPer said:

"All these people are just purchasing them just the sake of selling them at high price."

The gallery shows scalpers selling Hello Kitty plush toys online, as well as queues for the limited edition Singing Bone on Jun 26 and Jun 27.

Meanwhile, McDonald's has urged the public to not resell the toys for profit.

According to The Straits Times, several advertisements selling the toy were seen just hours after they went on sale early Thursday morning.

In one posting on eBay, there were 125 bids for the 'Singing Bone' model. The highest bid was captured at $126,000 Thursday morning at 11am.

News of the online transactions have reached McDonald's headquarters in Singapore -- and the management is not happy about it.

"We do not support people buying the Kitties for resale, and we have been regularly removing posts offering such services from our page.

"We take the conduct of our staff very seriously and if any of them are found to have misappropriated the Kitties for personal gain, we will not hesitate to take appropriate action," the fast-food chain posted on their official Facebook page.


Posted on 27 Jun 2013  Source: Stomp Singapore
Hundreds queue up for hours to grab Hello Kitty -- only to leave empty-handed 
Long, snaking queues formed at McDonald's outlets island-wide for the last plush toy in the Hello Kitty Fairy Tales collection on Jun 26 and 27, but hundreds of fans left disappointed as the limited edition toy was sold out in no time.

STOMPers contributed photos of the queues -- which started forming even before the plush toy's official release date on Jun 27 -- at several outlets, and one even said that police had to be called in to maintain order.

In addition, coupons that allowed purchase of the plush toys were issued out to only the earliest customers, and many did not manage to get hold of these coupons.

Disputes over the plush toys also broke out at two McDonald's outlets at Bukit Batok Central Pasir Ris Sports Complex, both of which were filmed on video.

Both incidents involved a man who complained about not getting the coupons that would allow them to purchase a plush toy, after people cut into their queues.

STOMPer Aaron said:

"Photos taken at Teck Whye McDonald's, Choa Chu Kang Community Club.

"Look at the queue! It's ridiculous and there isn't any sign or pole to let us queue properly, everybody is just standing everywhere.

"The queue is so snaking long that it stretches till the basketball court.

"At 11.30pm, managers were seen giving out coupons to customers in the queue.

"However, the coupons were all given out even before it reached another row. Just one row of customers managed to get them!

"It's so frustrating to see that the queue was so messy and the staff did not even bother.

"People queuing from the front noticed that they were shifting further and further back and without them knowing, they were at the back of queue.

"Shouldn't they put a signboard or pole to make the queue neater?

"So disappointed that only a few managed to get it, while those at the back didn't manage to get it."

STOMPer Syafiq said:

"Today, Thursday (Jun 27) was the last Hello Kitty promotion held in McDonald's.

"I was stunned by the overcrowded queue.

" Some of them lined up at 8pm sharp as they did not want to miss the limited edition Hello Kitty (Singing Bone).

"Police were called in as there were people jumping queues.

"Some even lined up for their friends.

"I think this is not fair as this soft toy is actually for kids and collectors, and not for those who want to sell it a higher price after buying it at McDonald's.

"I pity those kids who cried as they never got to have one."

A STOMPer said:

"The very last plush toy in McDonald's Hello Kitty Fairy Tales collection, aka the limited edition Singing Bone, sold out at Yishun SAFRA's outlet even before its official release date (Jun 27).

"People stared queuing early evening and night on Jun 26. McDonald's set a limit of four plush toys per person this time round, as well as gave out coupons to the earliest birds.

"The plush toys would not be sold to you if you did not have the coupons. They gave out the coupons hours before midnight.

"I started queuing at 10pm+ but did not get the coupon. However, I stayed for another three hours in the queue, in hope that there would be extras.

"The last person with a coupon wasn't far off away from me in the line anyway so I decided to try my luck. Same goes for several others queuing behind me.

"McDonald's staff kept telling us that the plush toys were already sold out and to not bother queuing without a coupon, but no one budged.

"At 2am, McDonald's finally put up the flyer on their glass window, officially stating that the plush toys were sold out and that the whole Hello Kitty promotion had come to an end.

"Everyone was then finally willing to leave, empty-handed after hours of queuing in vain. What a sore disappointment. Many groups walked away with the plush toys in bulk.

"How is the official release date of the plush toy Jun 27 when it was technically sold out even before it hit midnight?"

STOMPer Waitlonglong said:

"A long queue for the iconic feline started as early as 5am this morning outside NUS McDdonald's.

"The people in the queue were not aware of the late opening of the outlet due to the vacation period.

"Cars were parked illegally causing inconvenience to the faculty staff.

"This brings back memories of the scene of the first limited editions of the hello kitty dolls that had people staging sleepovers just to get their hands on them."

STOMPer Jolin said:

"More than 100 over people are queuing up for Hello Kittys.

"Over 500 people were seen queuing at Sengkang while another 200 plus were at Ang Mo Kio Hub."

STOMPer Piper said:

"Went to Tradehub 21 to queue for the Hello Kitty (black) and saw that the queues for all McDonald's were so long till the roads were so badly jammed.

"All queues started at about 7pm."

STOMPer Wei Hao said:

"Long queues seen at McDonald's Kallang out on the eve of Jun 27, with Singaporeans from all walks of life coming together to wait for the clock to strike 12am for the launch of the last Hello Kitty in this Hello Kitty saga."

STOMPer Aleeni25 said:

"This queue was at the McDonald's outlet in Kovan.

"All the kitties were sold out before midnight."

STOMPer felicia said:

"Hello Kitty is more popular then haze.

"Singaporeans are more concerned about that than their own health."

STOMPer Kitty said:

"Many started to queue for the last kitty, forming long long queues outside Pioneer McDonald's!"

STOMPer Siew Yee said:

"A hundred people start queuing for Hello Kitty near Gek Poh McDonald's."


Scalpers buy Hello Kitty plush toys -- only to sell them for profit at $50 each
STOMPers Alice and Victoria have expressed their displeasure at scalpers who managed to get their hands on the latest Hello Kitty plush toys from McDonald's despite the long queues, only to sell them for profit online.

Alice, who sent in screenshots of a person touting 10 pieces of the Ugly Duckling toys -- which was released only just today (Jun 20) -- for $50, wrote:

"Despite the increasing PSI levels and a halt in McDelivery services, people still brave the haze to purchase Hello Kitty dolls for sale on the black market.

"The price for each Hello Kitty is S$50 without the meal!"

Meanwhile, STOMPer Victoria sent in a screenshot of a conversation with a seller and wrote:

"It's unreasonable that people buy the Hello Kitty and resell it at a higher price.

"It's unfair to those who really want to collect Hello Kitty as their collection."

STOMPer R1597 also wrote in about a sighting at a McDonald's outlet:

"It's less than three hours in, and some of the McDonald's outlets are already displaying the 'Sold Out' signage.

"While enjoying my meal at Mcs, I noticed several people buying four to eight sets of the Hello Kitty dolls. Some of them just threw away their meals into the dustbin after getting their hands on the toys.

"What a waste.

"Is there a better system in controlling such people?"


Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Rich Chinese seek U.S Homes & Birth Tourism

In my earlier post, Birth Tourism in the U.S NBC News reported that many wealthy Chinese mothers are willing to pay their agents to arrange and fly over to the U.S.A, just to deliver their babies. They will put on loose clothing to hide their tummies and memorize the facts and are even practising for interviews, in order to get through the Immigration Department at the airports in the USA. The reason is, any child born in the U.S. will automatically get green card citizenship even though his/her parents aren't U.S citizen which is the LOOP HOLE to attract Chinese mothers for the risk of green card citizenship.

Besides the birth tourism in the U.S, those extremely or middle-class wealthy Chinese families, they are willing to invest more than US$1million, in order to get green card (US citizenship) as well as investing on home property in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle where majority of Asians live along the West Coast of the United States, due to strong economy growth, jobs prospect especially in Engineering, Research and I.T, better education prospect for children and enjoying the balance lifestyle between work and family as what many Asians are searching for. As such, the U.S home prices soared 12.1 percent while the home prices in California has jumped up by 19.4 percent since 7 years ago which eventually becomes a huge burden and unaffordable to many typical American families to get their dream homes.

Life Imitates Art as Chinese Seek Out Seattle Homes 
June 5 (Bloomberg) -- The latest box-office movie champ in China 'Beijing Meets Seattle' is putting the emerald city on the map for Chinese property investors. The city is cheaper than west coast neighbors Vancouver and San Fransisco, driving Chinese value investors to look at Seattle, which is seeing a recovery in home prices. Steve Engle has more. (Source: Bloomberg)

Pregnant and Bound for America: Why Chinese Moms Want to Give Birth on U.S. Soil

Getty Images

This post is in partnership with Worldcrunch, a new global—news site that translates stories of note in foreign languages into English. The article below was originally published in Economic Observer.

When Liu Li boarded a plane for the United States, she had a little bit of makeup on, was wearing a loose dress, and had her hair up. She tried to hold her handbag in front of her belly in a natural way, just as the middleman had taught her. She was trying to look as calm as any wealthy Chinese lady would look when travelling abroad. But Liu Li couldn't help feeling terribly nervous: she was six months pregnant when she left for the United States, where she wanted to give birth to an American citizen.

Liu Li knew that going through customs would be a lot easier than obtaining a U.S. visa. In order to obtain the tourist visa that enabled her to go to America for the delivery, she had to carefully choose her clothes, and spend a lot of time practicing her walking and interview techniques. She memorized a host of details about her hotel booking and about famous sight-seeing spots so as to convince the Embassy officer that she was just another Chinese woman going shopping in the States.
 The temptation of a 'born in the USA' child
Giving birth to a child abroad is not a privilege reserved to the stars and the very wealthy. An increasing number of expectant middle-class parents also fancy giving their children passports that they can feel proud of. "The return on investment is higher than robbing a bank," the consultancy agent tells women such as Liu. When Chinese children are born in America, they automatically become U.S. citizens. Once they reach 21, their parents will be able to apply for green cards and emigrate.

Those who would prefer a closer destination can go to Hong Kong, whose passport gives access to more than 120 countries without the need of a visa. Advantages include the fact that children will receive bilingual education (which will give them a foothold in the international world), and the fact that they will also enjoy the preferential policies for going to Chinese universities.

After consulting quite a few agencies for expectant mothers, Liu Li chose a reputable one. Airplane tickets, fees for labor, pre- and post-delivery care cost her roughly 20,000. Since most airlines refuse to accept women passengers who are more than 32 weeks pregnant, Liu Li set off for America when she was six months pregnant and then checked into a Chinese birthing center in California.

After her arrival, Liu Li realized that the area was full of facilities set up for Chinese women like herself. On the limited occasions when Liu Li goes to the Punete Hill Mall near her birthing center — the facility limits walks outside its premises to three per week, each time for about three hours — Liu Li bumps into lots of pregnant Chinese women. Birthing centers such as Liu Li's, which are mostly situated in America's beautiful west coastal areas, operate without a business license, and try to be as discreet as possible. In April, a number of illegally converted maternity centers in Los Angeles were discovered and shut down, which makes Liu Li very nervous.

Incompatible nationalities
Going to the United States to give birth and taking a foreign born child back to China usually proves relatively easy. The difficult part starts only later, as Song Jingwen is starting to understand. Because her son has a U.S. passport, the law does not allow him to be registered in his mother's local area, which means that he will not be automatically admitted to Chinese schools. Song will have to register him as a foreigner, and pay an extra fee. His access to education and health care also faces a lot of constraints.

"Some parents obtain fake birth certificates for their children, or cheat the Chinese Embassy to get them Chinese passports. But then they can't get visas or go abroad," Song explains. She is still hesitating on what to do next. If Song gets her son a fake hukou (the Chinese registration system), which would make it easier for him to go to a local school, she fears that all the efforts she has made up to now could be in vain.

A few years ago, Zhao Yong easily obtained a Shanghai hukou for his American born child. "Every time we want to go to the States, we have to get the Hongkong-Macao permit to go though Chinese customs, go to Hong Kong, then fly to the United States and enter the country with the American passport," Zhao Yong says. "The trip is a little bit complicated, but if we fly directly from Shanghai to the States, we won't be able to hide the truth."

Under Chinese law, double nationality is prohibited. According to the American Embassy, once a child has obtained a Chinese hukou, he is considered to have given up his American nationality. The United States is not the only country with strict regulations. A child born in Hong Kong doesn't get the Hong Kong resident identity card right away, but has to go back to Hong Kong regularly — every year or two until he is 18 — in order to register as a "returned resident," and keep his nationality.

The so-called 'citizen's welfare'
According to the 14th Amendment to the U.S. constitution (ratified in 1868), anyone born in United States automatically becomes an American citizen and obtains access to public education, university loans, voting, and so on... Even so, if one does not work in America or pay taxes after the age of 15, one can only enjoy very limited access to U.S. welfare benefits. "The system doesn't totally exclude people who don't pay taxes here, but those who do not pay as much tax as Americans do cannot expect the same benefits. But each state has different regulations," says Mr. Yang, a Chinese born man who works in New Jersey and has a green card.

"Giving birth to a child in the States is a wonderful dream, but a very costly one too," Song Jingwen concludes. "People who choose to go down this path must know that they will not be paying only for birthing and post birthing care, but they will also be paying a lot more for the whole life."

(All names used in this article are pseudonyms)


New Movie ‘Beijing Meets Seattle’: A Northwest Romance Made for China

A movie poster shows the Space Needle.

“Sleepless in Seattle” must have made a lasting impression on Chinese moviegoers and filmmakers alike.  A new romcom titled “Beijing Meets Seattle” (北京遇上西雅图) in Chinese, or “Finding Mr. Right” in English, is being publicized in China, where it is scheduled to open in theaters on March 15.

Starring Tang Wei (汤唯) of “Lust, Caution,” the film portrays a young Chinese woman named Jiajia, the materialistic girlfriend of a Chinese tycoon. In a ploy to gain U.S. residency, she comes to Seattle pregnant. She stays at a birthing center, where she meets a handsome doctor, Frank, played by Wu Xiubo (吴秀波) , a Chinese immigrant and single dad. Jiajia loses contact with her wealthy boyfriend in China, and eventually Jiajia and Frank fall for each other. Later Jiajia’s boyfriend reappears and takes her back to China, where she can lead a life of comfort and luxury in Beijing. But Jiajia’s feelings for Frank win out and she decides to return to the U.S. to find him.

While Seattle may be the city of choice for the story, the location scenes were actually shot in Vancouver, B.C. Scenes of English Bay and Granville Island are visible in the trailer clips. But the North American lifestyle features prominently — the couple walking along a marina or drinking red wine in front of a festive Christmas tree.

Director and writer Xiaolu Xue (薛晓路) of Beijing Central Television has helped create a number of Chinese-themed TV series, such as “You Smile and I Cry” (你在微笑我却哭了) and movies, such as “Love in the Forbidden City” (紫禁城奇恋). Her “Beijing Meets Seattle,” however, touches upon a cross-national subject, one that may be popular among Chinese viewers but controversial in the U.S. — foreign nationals coming to the U.S. to give birth.

Jiajia (Tang Wei) and Frank (Wu Xiubo) fall in love in Seattle.
Time magazine’s 2011 story “Pregnant and Bound for America: Why Chinese Moms Want to Give Birth on U.S. Soil,” described the growing trend of wealthier pregnant women getting tourist visas to fly to the United States and give birth in America to make their babies American citizens.

Connected to so-called maternity tourism, birthing-home operations have made headlines in California and New York. Recently, such operations in Southern California have been the target of loud complaints and protests from local residents. Los Angeles County has taken measures to crack down on such businesses.

In the fictional Seattle birthing center where Jiajia stays in the movie, director Xue combines a social phenomenon in modern China with the longing for an American-style sentimental love story featured in “Sleepless in Seattle.” Likewise, Xue chooses the Empire State Building as the place where Jiajia and Frank reunite two years later.

While the subject is controversial, depicting a type of business many would frown upon, Seattleites can be happy that at least Chinese moviegoers would once again look to the city as a destination for romance.