China's professional shoppers

Jake Parker, vice president of China operations at the US-China Business Council, said some companies have reported scams. “We've heard from some companies that cartels have formed in certain areas that include multiple individuals who do this as a full-time job, where they go and visit stores. They find expired products, or they take these unethical steps to give the perception of an expired product, and then they threaten the store or the company in exchange for some kind of money or they'll take it to the local regulator,” said Parker. “One of our companies gave us an example of an employee that would enter into the store," he continued. "He used a chemical solvent to remove the expiration dates on bottles of alcohol.” The food safety law has strict guidelines about expiration dates. “The individual who discovered this problem reported it to the company, sought money from the company, with the threat that they would take this information to the local food safety regulator, who would likely impose fines,” Parker said. He said fines were at least 100,000 yuan ($14,900) for each infraction. There can also be multiple investigations by various regulators.