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Why are mooncake prices so, so high?
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-09-09 08:48

Gold medals not only belong to Olympic athletes. Lucky mooncake purchasers could be lucky enough to get their hands on one as well.

Various brands of mooncakes are displayed at the Ito Yokado Asian Games Village outlet in Beijing as Mid-Autumn Day approaches. However, some people are complaining the seasonal delicacies are too expensive this year. [newsphoto]
With the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival drawing near, South China's renowned Likoufu restaurant based in Guangzhou will make 32 gold medals, which mooncake purchasers will try to win in a lucky draw. The Chinese Olympic delegation obtained 32 golds at the Athens Olympic Games last month.

Even some movie stars have been involved in the promotion of mooncakes, which are traditionally eaten on Mid-Autumn Day, which falls on September 28 this year.

Various brands of mooncake are already on sale, but some people are complaining that the seasonal delicacies are too expensive this year.

"The mooncakes have already become gifts for exchange but some brands are expensive," said Zhu Ji, a Beijing resident.

She said that some mooncakes cost as much as 1,500 yuan (US$180) each, a sum equal to one third of her monthly salary.

Some brands of mooncake cost about 20-30 yuan (US$2.4-3.6). But the cost of accompanying items included in the mooncake boxes will be several dozens of times higher.

Zhu said her husband and son do not like to eat mooncakes, a sweet pastry with a round shape symbolizing union."But my 88-year-old grandmother likes them and I will buy some for her this time every year."

Some shoppers are choosing to purchase their mooncakes online.

EBay Each-Net.com, one of the country's leading e-business platforms, said about 500 mooncake deals were successfully made each week, about 60 per cent higher than last year.

"Mooncake sales are extraordinarily hot this year and it has become one of our business highlights these days," said Tang Lei, public relations manager at eBay EachNet.

Overseas Chinese also observe the traditional festival and their relatives at home often mail mooncakes to them.

The postal authorities required parcel senders to become aware of food export regulations about the countries where their relatives live.

Beijing Capital International Airport also remind passengers not to take mooncake boxes containing bottles of alcohol on flights.

Many passengers are taking mooncakes on board with them as gifts for friends and family. At least four or five brands of mooncake gift boxes also contain bottles of liquor, said airport authorities.

According to aviation security rules, passengers are forbidden from taking any alcohol onto planes. Violators will have to either leave their mooncakes behind or, if time permits, send them through luggage consignment.

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