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Umbrellas

By Xu Junqian ( China Daily ) Updated: 2013-07-23 13:47:15

On taobao.com, the country's largest shopping bazaar, prices of umbrellas tagged "anti-ultraviolet-rays" range from 30 to 300 yuan. The most popular ones cost between 30 to 50 yuan each; the website can sell up to 36,000 umbrellas within 30 days.

A rising star in the competitive market is an all-black fold umbrella sold at 250 yuan, which is promoted as 50 percent off from the original price "for the summer". Named BlackHole, the umbrella is marketed as capable of blocking 99 percent of the ultraviolet sun rays thanks to the double layers of a "high-tech anti-UV coating". Just launched in May this year on Tmall.com, the business-to-customer version of taobao, about 4,400 units have been sold in the past one month.

Jacqueline Kao, senior director of the American umbrella maker Totes, is seeing a similar craze in the Chinese market.

"The first thing they ask when walking into our store is the sun-prevention umbrella, be it winter or summer. In winter, they usually come shopping for umbrellas when they need to travel to sunny places," Kao says.

The weather-wear brand was founded in 1924 in Ohio and has its biggest breakthrough after its transparent umbrellas appeared in the fashion sitcom Gossip Girl. Its products, including rainboots, hats and umbrellas, have been sold in China’s sleek shopping malls and department stores in Shanghai and Beijing since last year.

The sun-prevention umbrellas sell from 200 to 400 yuan each and boast a rating higher than SPF50 sunscreen. Kao adds that while they are exclusive for the Asian market, her company is seeing a reversed trend back in the US market.

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