According to China's new Cigarette Selling License Management Rule which has just been enacted, foreign owned companies must not be engaged in cigarette selling in China, but they can rent their counters to licensed Chinese retailers for them to sell cigarettes at their venues.
Foreign owned companies, as defined by the new rule, refer to Sino-foreign joint ventures, Sino-foreign cooperation companies and solely foreign-invested companies. This means that such international supermarkets as Carrefour, Wal-Mart and Lotus won't be selling cigarettes by themselves in the Chinese market.
In addition, the new rule says that licenses must not be given to sellers who sell cigarettes near primary and middle schools, no cigarette shall be sold via automatic selling machines or they can't be sold over the Internet.
Even though there is a lot of limitations for cigarette selling, consumers don't have to worry about the difficulty in buying cigarettes as most of the grocery stores in China continue to sell them.