EU fines owner of Hello Kitty for limiting online sales

The top antitrust regulator of EU fined the owner of Hello Kitty Sanrio €6.2mil for unlawfully blocking retailers from selling merchandise across community borders. 

Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said that the ‘Customers, whether they are purchasing a Hello Kitty Chococat toy or mug can now take full benefit of one of the major advantages of the EU’s single market, the capability to shop for best deals all around Europe. 

The comparatively low fine came as a consequence of Sanrio’s cooperation in the case, which was together launched against Universal Studio and Nike. 

The commission fined Nike €12.5mil in March, with no decision till now taken against Universal.  

The case is the division of the EU’s ambition to make a digital single market across the union of 28 nations and 500 million people which as a community is the biggest economy of the world. 

The commission is particularly eager to fight companies that break EU competition rules by restricting the ability of retailers and manufacturers for selling licensed merchandise online and cross-border. 

All these deals limit the ability of customers to shop for very popular merchandised products all across EU borders in the search for lesser rates.   

Moreover, Hello Kitty, a moon-faced icon of cute of Japan has produced a multi-billion-dollar industry from the time when Sanrio introduced her in the year 1974. 

According to Sanrio, with her child-like hair bow, the mouthless character and registered height of five apples, is now found in more than 130 countries on over 50,000 branded products each year. 


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