A chubby spherical panda decked out in a swimsuit of ice has grow to be a nationwide sensation in China, with buyers in Beijing lining up in freezing temperatures in a single day for the prospect to purchase stuffed variations of the Winter Olympics mascot.
Those that don’t need to queue are paying as a lot as 17-times the retail worth for toys that includes the panda named Bing Dwen Dwen. Costs have surged a lot on the secondary market—stuffed toys are promoting for greater than $500 on-line—that police in Beijing have issued public warnings in opposition to shopping for the mascot from scalpers, and as of Wednesday punished three folks in a crackdown over worth gouging.
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The beginning of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, which kicked off Feb. 4, has helped gasoline the frenzy, as have social media memes of the mascot dancing on the opening ceremony and struggling to squeeze via doorways. A clip of Chinese language President Xi Jinping suggesting Prince Albert II of Monaco deliver two of the toys residence for his twins has additional propelled Bing Dwen Dwen’s reputation.
Exacerbating the state of affairs has been a shortfall in provides. As a result of the opening ceremony fell in the midst of the Lunar New Yr vacation this yr, lots of the factories producing Bing Dwen Dwen toys have been closed simply as demand for the mascot surged.
Zhao Weidong, a spokesperson for the Beijing Winter Olympics, pledged at a Feb. 6 briefing that officers have been taking steps to treatment the state of affairs. “We’re now making efforts to coordinate the manufacturing and provide of Bing Dwen Dwen,” Zhao mentioned.
Shares of Beijing Yuanlong Yato Tradition Dissemination Co., certainly one of a number of licensed producers of Olympic merchandise, surged by the ten% day by day restrict for a 3rd day in Shenzhen on Wednesday. The corporate, whose merchandise embody Bing Dwen Dwen fluffy toys and badges, has mentioned manufacturing is again in full swing. Shanghai-listed Cultural Funding Holdings Co., one other licensed product maker, has additionally seen its inventory soar by the day by day restrict for 3 straight days.
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However again in Beijing, 54-year-old Dong Yanxue has queued up exterior the official Olympics memento retailer within the metropolis’s Wangfujing procuring district, outfitted with a chair, meals and beer. Dong says he had earlier waited two nights in line to have the ability to purchase only one stuffed Bing Dwen Dwen for his niece. He was again to attempt his luck once more Tuesday afternoon, at the same time as a loudspeaker exterior the shop performed a recorded message saying its Bing Dwen Dwen toys have been out of inventory and asking folks to not wait in line.
“I might moderately have some drinks at residence at this hour,” Dong mentioned, however “the youngsters need it badly.”
—With help from Sarah Chen and Colum Murphy