Mooncakes acquire networking flavor

By Chen Hong and Wang Zhuoqiong (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-09-24 06:54

Mooncakes, a traditional delicacy gifted to families and friends during the Mid-Autumn Festival, have become an important ingredient in maintaining business and work relations.

With the festival falling tomorrow, the reception areas of almost every office building are overflowing with boxes of mooncakes.

The traditional festival has become a Chinese Christmas of sorts, topping other occasions for giving or receiving gifts.

"We send presents to our clients during the Mid-Autumn Festival, rather than the Spring Festival," said Elsa Wang, who works for a public relations firm in Beijing. The company started budgeting months earlier and has been delivering mooncakes as early as a month ago.

"It doesn't matter how much a package costs.... Mooncakes are the best way to say: Let us keep in touch."

Lin Jian, a guest writer on the Financial Times Chinese website, wrote that the consumption of mooncakes has one simple purpose - to maintain relationships.

"How many mooncakes one gets measures his intangible value," Lin wrote in his column. "The more coupons you receive, the more respect you have."

The market has reacted to the increasing demand with expensive packages to lure high-end consumers. In Changchun, one vendor sells a box for 1,800 yuan (US$240) with a golf club as a complimentary accompaniment.

About 250,000 tons of mooncakes were produced last year with revenue exceeding 11 billion yuan ($1.42 billion).

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