It was still one day ahead of the Mid-Autumn Festival, a traditional Chinese festival for family union that falls tomorrow, but Wang Peng found his mobile phone full of short messages yesterday, bearing all kinds of good wishes for the festival.
In return, the 27-year-old salesman for a wine company in Beijing had to send out over 100 short messages of his own.
A survey by the Beijing Youth Daily said 67.1 per cent of Beijing people like to pass on their Mid-Autumn Festival greetings through short messages.
But, for Wang, sending all these text messages is a piece of cake in comparison with delivering moon cakes to his clients.
Moon cake is a traditional Chinese pastry dedicated especially to the festival.
Although like many other people, Wang admitted that moon cakes are not especially popular nowadays, at the same time not sending them might be considered improper.
"While many people might complain about getting too many moon cakes every Mid-Autumn Festival, they cannot find a substitute as delicious and auspicious," he said.
Luckily, he has many choices on the market. Try a casual walk at any Beijing supermarket or department store and you will find there are piles of moon cakes of various flavours displayed in conspicuous places.
"This year's sales volume of moon cakes is 20 per cent higher on a year-on-year basis," said Xiao Nan, a section director with the Ito-Yokado Commercial Co Ltd in Beijing.
Xiao said customers prefer moon cakes of high quality and famous brands, such as Daoxiangcun, Dasanyuan, and Fangshan.
Yang Xinjing, an official with the Beijing Municipal Commerce Commission, said the city would not let down any customers with "special" requests during the festival.
Besides moon cakes, the committee has also organized a number of promotion activities for other commodities, such as a flower fair in eastern Beijing's Chaoyang District.
(China Daily September 10, 2003)