On Thursday, tea brand Nayuki launched its campaign to celebrate the first anniversary of its IPO by giving away virtual shares for every tea drink. Users are able to earn one Nayuki coin for every 1 yuan spent and become a virtual shareholder by buying/selling virtual shares with the company’s coins. Further, customers can redeem the coins for various gifts at the Nayuki Coin Mall. Finally, to make the deal even sweeter, 30 shares of virtual stock can be exchanged for 3 yuan vouchers.
Pursuant to the game rules, the virtual share price for commissioned buy/sell is converted to HKD at Nayuki’s closing price as of the day of the transaction. Before 4:00 p.m., the commission is based on the day’s closing price and the closing price of the next trading day for a buy is initiated after 4:00 p.m. From 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., there will be no commission for buying or selling.
Analysts reported a 60% drop in Nayuki’s share price since it went public a year ago, and the overall performance in it ssecondary market has been sluggish. Nayuki’s virtual shares are tied to the rise and fall of real stocks, a practice that could lead consumers into speculative activities and may be suspected of violating the law.
Zhu Yonghong, a partner at V&T law firm (Shanghai), told iFeng that Nayuki’s use of virtual stocks may be intended for speculation. Since there are a large number of consumers using virtual stocks, i.e. consumer shareholders, it does not exclude encouraging more consumption, absorbing social funds in disguise and using virtual coins for trading, which involves financial risks such as illegal fund raising.
In this regard, some netizens commented, “China severely cracks down on virtual currency trading speculation. China Securities Regulatory Commission should keep Nayuki in check.” In recent years, state regulators have cracked down on illegal speculation in virtual currencies. Against the background of these strict regulations, concern has arisen that Nayuki is guiding users to buy virtual stocks.
Other users said that the development of the milk tea industry is so fierce that companies are now resorting to marketing activities similar to securities trading.