BEIJING : The Olympics has created a new kind of frenzy in the Chinese capital – the purchase of Olympic-related souvenirs.
At one Olympic souvenir flagship store in Beijing, the souvenirs are selling like hotcakes. Whether they are stamps or T-shirts, mugs or backpacks, they are practically flying off the shelves.
One shopper, Li Yue, said: “I’m here to purchase the more symbolic products such as umbrellas, stamps and commemorative coins.”
One of the most popular items sold at the store is a set of fuwa, or the Beijing Olympics symbols. It is sold for under 90 yuan (about US$14). The set comes in all shapes and sizes.
Apart from locals, souvenir hunters include local and overseas tourists in town to catch the Games.
Rich Grunke, an American tourist, said: “This is my 15th Olympics and I have a collection of mascots and things, so I have to get the mascots. There are five of them, so I have to get all five of them.”
Over 5,000 types of products are sold at the store, including limited edition souvenirs which were snapped up within minutes after people queued up overnight.
Zhang Hongwei, sales manager, Gongmei Group, said: “There are four groups of best-selling items and they include badges, apparel, hats, as well as plush toys.”
The most expensive item in the shop is a 290,000 yuan (about US$40,000) display – a collection of the mascots carved delicately in jade.
So it is little wonder that the cash registers have been busy ringing. But clearly, hunting for souvenirs has put everyone in an Olympic mood.
An example is one girl who queued up for close to an hour just to buy two flags. Aisin Gioro Zining said: “I’m taking the opportunity to celebrate this event. Go Olympic Go! Go China Go!”
It is not hard to understand the excitement – after all, it is the Games that countless Chinese have been waiting eagerly for. – CNA/ms
Channel News Asia