Business / Economy

Gift recycling trade suffers from policy

By An Baijie (China Daily) Updated: 2014-03-07 09:16

Business is going through a tough cycle right now for a woman who runs a gift-recycling shop and she points to the effectiveness of enhanced anti-corruption measures for the drop in demand.

Wu Ju, whose shop is in the Xicheng district of Beijing, said that business was bleak during the Spring Festival holiday.

Wu has been recycling gifts, including top-class wine, cigarettes and shopping cards, for 14 years. Most of that time, business was good but it dropped dramatically during Spring Festival.

She attributed the plunge to enhanced anti-corruption measures that have targeted ostentatious displays of wealth, among other things.

Gift recycling trade suffers from policy

Special: Crackdown on graft 

People recycle gifts they are given that they don't want. They sell the item to a shop, which then resells it for a profit.

The Communist Party of China Central Commission for Discipline Inspection, the country's top anti-graft agency, banned government officials last year from accepting gifts or buying gifts with public funds.

"The (anti-corruption) policies have made a great difference to the business," Wu said.

Wu's shop is located near Nanlishi Road, close to the offices of many ministries, and a number of similar businesses are located on the road. All reported a sharp drop in business.

"Very few people come in, and those who do so don't have expensive gifts to recycle," Wu said.

Another gift recycler, surnamed Li, who owns a shop on Yuhui South Road in the capital's Chaoyang district, said it has become difficult to resell luxury products.

"The central authorities have forbidden officials from accepting or sending gifts and, as a result, the business of gift recycling has slumped," he said.

Gift-recycling shops in other cities are also experiencing a falloff in business.

Zhang Qiaoqian, a gift recycler in Nanjing, told Modern Express that he traded products worth 60,000 yuan ($9,800) in total ahead of Spring Festival a year ago, but sales dropped by 90 percent this year.

Many gift recyclers are turning to other jobs or selling different products.

To keep her shop ticking over, Wu is also selling cellphone screen protectors.

Gift recycling was sometimes used as a method to turn a present offered as a bribe into hard cash.

In China, special licenses are needed to trade tobacco products and alcohol, and many gift-recycling shops do not have such licenses. Even properly licensed retailers can only buy tobacco products and alcohol from licensed wholesalers.

Cui Shoufeng contributed to this story.

Hot Topics

Editor's Picks