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Chinese Anti-Corruption Drive Shows Results as Sales of Lavish Food Gifts Dip

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Published on : Dec 26, 2013

The Chinese government’s anti-graft drive seems to be showing results this festive season. According to the latest reports in Chinese state media, there has been a marked downslide in the number of luxury food gift boxes being gifted in China in 2013. The Communist Party’s crackdown on corruption is obviously having an impact on consumer behavior in the country. 

State media quoted an official from the China National Food Industry Association as saying that a 40% decline has been noted in the volume of luxury food gift products being gifted in 2013. 

The segment that was hardest hit this year was the sale of the traditional glutinous rice cakes, according to another official from China’s rice cake industry association.

The reports stated that the average price of a rice cake gift box is $480. These rice cakes are folded up in reed leaves and are typically consumed during the Dragon Boat Festival that is celebrated annually. 

Other luxury food gift boxes that typically line the shelves during festive times are those containing expensive liquor and nuts. Others contain the traditional, but expensive version of mooncakes. Most of these expensive food gifts could be used as soft bribery.

After coming to power in March 2013, China’s new president Xi Jinping had made it a mission to crack down on graft in the country by imposing strict rules. This included a curb on extravagant banquets and lavish gifts that were most commonly used as soft bribery. 

According to state media reports, in 2013, there were fewer sales of expensive mooncakes (that are encrusted with gold and stuffed with shark fin) during the Mid-Autumn festive season as people bought gifts that were less conspicuous. 

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