The world's most famous mouthless cat is back in Singapore.
McDonald's restaurants island wide will soon be offering up a new series of six Hello Kitty dolls in celebration of the Japanese character's 40th anniversary.
The Hello Kitty Bubbly World Collector's set will feature the iconic character dressed as six other famous Sanrio characters, including Kerokerokeroppi and Bad Badtz-maru.
Singapore will be the first in the world to get the collection, with the first doll - the Kerokerokeroppi outfit - making its way to counters on April 28, 2014.
Each doll is priced at $4.95 with the purchase of an Extra Value Meal.
Online pre-orders for the entire collection started at 11am on May 23, 2014. For $80, customers could purchase the set of plush toys in individual boxes, a 40th Anniversary certificate and six Extra Value Meal $5 vouchers.
Users had difficulty accessing the site, with McDonald's later issuing a statement on its Facebook page, assuring customers that "the site is functioning but due to extremely high traffic, the site is taking longer than usual to load".
In slightly over an hour, sales for the toy were suspended, with McDonald's making a promise on Facebook to "resume sales as soon as possible". The Straits Times understands that the website should be restored later today.
It is no surprise then that there are sets available on the black market almost immediately after pre-orders began. On eBay, full sets are being offered for between $150 and $199.90.
Chinese auction site Taobao has sets going for anywhere between $20 and $90.
If this current collection sparks off long queues and bad tempers outside McDonald's restaurants across Singapore on April 28, it will not be anything new.
Back in 2000, McDonald's released the first of its six sets of Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel dolls in different ethnic wedding costumes on Jan 1.
The six pairs of Hello Kitty and Dear Daniel plush toys in different ethnic wedding costumes. -- NP PHOTO: DAVID TAN
Multiple McDonald's outlets had long lines that began as early as 6am. People queued for hours to get their hands on the soft toys. The long wait resulted in some short fuses and a few fights. Several people were also injured when the glass door at one outlet shattered.
The manager of the McDonald's at Tanjong Katong attempts to calm the angry crowd who waited hours for the Hello Kitty dolls. -- ST PHOTO: RANDY QUAN
(From left) Mr Alan Heng, Mr Steve Lee and Mr Mohd Bahrin with their Hello Kitty toys at the Great Wall City outlet. -- ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI
Last year, McDonald's released a series of six Hello Kitty characters dressed in outfits from popular fairy tales.
Four out of the six of the series of Hello Kitty dolls dressed in outfits from popular fairy tales. -- ST PHOTO: DIOS VINCOY JR
The collection included a limited-edition "Singing Bone" Hello Kitty, the queues for which mimicked those in 2000. Thousands of Singaporeans lined up for hours at various outlets when the "Singing Bone" Hello Kitty went on sale on June 27, 2013. Many left disappointed.
The toys – limited to four per customer – were sold at $4.60 each with set meals. "Singing Bone" Hello Kitties were available on the black market shortly after they went on sale as well. Prices ranged from $50 to several hundred dollars.
A man, known only as Mr Lin, 60, was the first person to purchase the "Singing Bone" Hello Kitty on June 26, 2013, at a McDonald's outlet at Block 163 in Ang Mo Kio. -- PHOTO: WANBAO