Thursday, 7 February 2013

No More Gift Ideas

There's fewer ads for gifts like Wuliangye on radio and TV
With Chinese New Year around the corner, it's not only a time to get together with family, but to also curry favour with bosses and officials.

The best way to do it? To shower them with gifts.

Cigarettes used to be the norm, but later moved onto baijiu, the fiery colourless liquor made from grain.

But everyone's doing that now, so much so that people on the receiving end sell the cartons of cigarettes and bottles of baijiu cheaply which are in turn sold at no-name corner stores.

So how do you make your gift stand out from the crowd?

It's got to be luxury branded watches, jewellery, handbags and man bags, gold coins and perhaps even rare stamps.

However, it's going to be harder to be swayed by advertising in magazines and billboards because the Chinese government is now banning radio and television stations from broadcasting ads for expensive gifts.

Such adverts "publicized incorrect values and help create a bad social ethos," said the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT).

The ban follows Communist Party Chief Xi Jinping's call to strengthen the fight against corruption.

Supposedly big brands have already bought their air time for commercial slots to be aired now, so what does this mean? Can they get their money back?

Companies like baijiu maker Wuliangye Yibin routinely dominate the annual auction for advertising slots on China Central Television.

Already these baijiu producers are taking a hit after the government decreed the ban of alcohol at official military events. A bottle of the liquor can cost thousands of renminbi.

And now high-end jewellers and watchmakers are also seeing a drop in sales.

It will be particularly telling if this decree continues well after Spring Festival is over; if not, it's just a temporary warning and excessive consumption may resume.

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