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Merchants eye business opportunities of China's first manned spaceflight
( 2003-10-23 23:46) (Xinhua)

Chinese merchants have had a sweet taste of the lucrative opportunities prompted by the success of China's first manned spaceflight, seeing hot sales of related pop- science books and astronaut food and surging applications for trademarks featuring "Shenzhou" and "Yang Liwei".

Beijing's Wangfujing Bookstore introduced various types of pop- science books on stories as well as questions & answers about China's first successful manned space flight, which attracted more readers than usual and all sold well, said Lu Qingxiang, sales manager of the bookstore.

According to Lu, the first batch of 200 books, titled " Realizing the Space Dream -- the Inside Story on China's Space Program", were sold out in one day. The store had to make an immediate order for 300 more from the publishing house.

Sources from the Xidan Beijing Book Building, located in one of the capital's most bustling central areas, also revealed that the sales volume of pop-science books in the days following China's successful manned spaceflight reached nearly five times the monthly average in the past. Hot sales of spaceflight books also drove up sales in other science books.

Besides pop-science books, Wangfujing Bookstore purchased 2,003 Shenzhou-5 spaceship models, which has also helped it make great profits.

"We sold over 100 large-scale models with a scaling proportion of 1:40 on the first day, with each valuing up to over 1,000 yuan. So far, we have sold over 100 medium-scale ones of 1:80, each worth over 500 yuan, and there only remains 20 miniatures at 450 yuan each," Lu said.

A manager surnamed Qi with Beijing's Wantong New Century Small Commodities Market told the reporter that the sales volumes of spaceship toys and models were three to four times the usual level.

The Inner Mongolian dairy giant Mengniu, maker of the official milk of China's astronauts, also raked in profits in recent days. Commercials highlighting "Mengniu milk is special milk for Chinese astronauts" show up frequently during prime time programs of China 's Central Television (CCTV).

Beijing's Huapu Supermarket is planning to order more Mengniu milk, whose sales volume has kept soaring since the successful manned spaceflight. Huapu also intends to purchase more food and daily-use articles designed for astronauts.

Xinhuanet.com, the website of China's Xinhua News Agency, rose to become the world's 54th website from 300th on Oct. 16, with record "hits" to its reports on the landing of the re-entry capsule.

Experts point out that a high visit frequency can not only push up a website's fame, but also bring about more commercials. Internet surfers discovered that almost all domestic websites posted advertisements twice more than usual during the spaceflight.

Businessmen have also shown fervor in registering "Shenzhou-5" or "Yang Liwei", name of China's first astronaut, as trademarks.

Officials of the industrial and commercial administration in Shenyang City, northeast China's Liaoning Province, received hundreds of telephone calls asking to apply for trademarks of " Shenzhou" or "Yang Liwei" in only two days after the spaceflight.

"The two names are repeated too much and some applications are against certain regulations," said the officials, who confirmed that "Shenzhou" trademarks for food, automobile and computer had been registered long before the spaceflight.

The country's Trademark Law stipulates that any Chinese citizen can apply for trademark registration by paying 2,000 yuan, but specifies that official signs and inspection stamps must go through government's authorization before being registered as trademarks.

"Signs and names of the Shenzhou-5 spaceship are officially designated," said a lawyer with Beijing's Hanwen Law Office.

The lawyer also pointed out every Chinese citizen should enjoy the name right, reputation right and portrait right in line with related laws. Registering "Yang Liwei" as trademarks, even by people having the same given name and family name with the astronaut, will infringe on his legal rights if without his own approval.

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