Qinghai authorities have become the first in the country to allow vendors to cash in on the Olympic torch relay by opening a street in downtown Xining for people to sell souvenirs during the flame's three-day run through the province. Other provinces and cities have baulked at the idea of offering a designated place for the vendors for fear of violating Olympic regulations on copyright, as a high proportion of the items being sold are counterfeit. The Beijing Organising Committee for the Olympic Games said on its website that close to 10,000 vendors had been spotted selling Olympic and relay-related souvenirs at each stage of the route, and up to 4,000 vendors had followed the torch run from city to city. T-shirts with the official Olympics logo were selling for about 10 yuan (HK$11) each, about one-fifth the price of shirts available in official shops. Bocog has long warned it would take aggressive steps to fight counterfeit products stamped with Olympic logos. Its reaction to Xining's move was not available yesterday. Qinghai's decision to open a street to vendors seemed to be a rebuff to the warnings, but the provincial government said the concentrated sales area would make regulation easier. A vendor from Hangzhou who has trailed the torch since early last month told the website he was pleased with Xining's decision to set up the vendor street. 'Wherever we've been with the relay, we haven't had a legitimate place to sell our products and were often harassed by city regulators. But here in Xining, they not only offer us a street to do our business, but also do not charge us any fees.'