Love, oh so sweet, comes with price tag
Updated: 2006-02-14 10:38
As Chinese lovers prepare to celebrate Valentine's Day, businessmen in love
with money try to make lovers understand that love is not without its price tag.
Love is not priceless.
February 14th, today,
is historically a day when lovers are honored in the name of god. But it is
somewhat different when the event is growing in popularity among China's rich
and fashion-conscious younger generation.
A couple of young
lovers mark Valentine's Day with a single red rose, the classic symbol of
the occasion. [newsphoto]
Florists, restaurateurs and jewelry makers have pounding hearts waiting a
year for this huge business opportunity.
Romantic gifts at astronomical prices are popping up in China's big cities -
commercialism is in the air, overshadowing the love.
In Beijing's Guohua shopping mall, a rose made of platinum was priced at
199,999 yuan (US$24,691). The life-size rose, weighing 258 grams, attracted
curious buyers but no buyers.
"It's very interesting, but I would never open my wallet for it," said a
young customer, surnamed Zhu. "I won't pay for such luxurious romance, even on
"Like other young people, I would buy something special for my girlfriend at
Valentine's Day but the price must be reasonable."
However, businesses are confident. The market demand in Beijing is "huge,"
and the platinum rose is perfect to show one's love as the metal symbolizes
purity, solidarity and eternity, said a Guohua manager.
He said the most expensive gifts on China's Valentine's Day used to be a
3,000-yuan silver rose and a silver box of rose-shaped chocolates worth 30,000
Beginning in February, the prices of roses have been on the rise. Xue
Zhenqiu, a florist in Beijing, estimated over 2 million roses would be sold in
the capital for Valentine's Day.
But it is not just the price of traditional romantic gifts that is on the
increase. Fancy hotels in big cities are offering Valentine's Day packages at an
average 2,000 yuan a night.