Golden days for retailers as China takes a week off

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(Relaxnews) -

It's not known as 'Golden Week' for nothing. China's week-long holiday - set around the October 1 National Day - is traditionally a time for celebrations and a time for spending as people travel all over the country.



But even the most optimistic of retailers must be surprised by the sort of sales being recorded from Beijing to Hong Kong.

First, many lovers have decided to coincide their nuptials with National Day this year made even more important by the fact it was the People's Republic's 60th, traditionally the most auspicious anniversary there can be.

Chinese media are putting the number of weddings being held in China this week in the region of the "millions,'' with 40,000 registered in Shanghai alone.

And while the brides are blushing, it's China's diamond dealers who are smiling most.

China has already seen its diamond market grow by 12.7 percent this year (up to US$300 million, 204 million euros). Compare that to Belgium - home to the largest diamond market in the world, in Antwerp - which has seen a drop in trade of 38 percent for the same period.

And the China Daily newspaper has reported that sales leading up to Golden Week have astonished even those who have been watching the market grow. "We are confident we will have 15 percent sales growth,'' said Zhang Qing, manager of the David Seno boutique in Shanghai.

Down here in Hong Kong, the city's major shopping malls have reported a 30 percent rise in trade since October 1.

"Golden Week'' refers to the two times each year when China takes seven days off - the other occurring around the Lunar New Year in January or February - and traditionally it has meant a huge increase in the amount of mainland Chinese visitors making it to Hong Kong. It is expected close to 2.5 million will make the trip this year.

And they won't go home empty-handed. "The number of mainland travelers has rise 10 percent from last year,'' the manager of one shopping mall told The Standard newspaper. "They have strong purchasing power and spend on average HK$4,000 to HK$6,000 (350 to 530 euros).''

And he was referring to each visit.