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In China, gifts give way to vouchers   2011-09-13 14:40:00


Gift vouchers are available for purchase at almost every store in China. (File Photo/CFP)

Gift-giving in China, one of the cornerstones of the Mid-Autumn Festival, which took place on Sep 12, has morphed into the practice of presenting vouchers in the place of actual gifts.

At first, gift vouchers were only used by companies that presented gifts in large numbers. Now, however, the practice has become common among the general public, creating a new market for the vouchers.

The leading players in the market are scalpers who buy the vouchers at a discount, from those who receive more than they care to use, and resell them for a profit.

In China, vouchers are available for almost every thing typically given as a gift, from seasonal mooncakes to liquor, cigarettes and crabs. All these are grist to the scalpers' mill.

One scalper, who sets up his trade outside an ice cream store in Xidan, a commercial area in Beijing, said his business was booming in the runup to this year's festival, and that his success would continue until Oct 1, China's National Day. He said he bought vouchers at discounts of 50% and resold them at discounts of 10%-30%.

"The profits are enough for me to live comfortably for six months," he said.

source : Want China Times     editor:: Shirley
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