Two people enquire about the prices of goods at an authorized retail store of the Beijing 2022 Games at the new Daxing airport in Beijing. [Photo/Xinhua]
With the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic venues taking shape, the lead-up to the Games has been seeing rising sales of popular merchandise in China, with the COVID-19 epidemic causing no more than a temporary dip.
So far, more than 1,600 licensed derivative products have been launched in the domestic market. Sales points include official online stores, about 80 physical retail stores and nearly 200 high-speed trains.
By the end of November 2019, their sales exceeded 500 million yuan ($71.4 million), according to the 2022 Games organizing committee.
Popular Games-themed products include bags, badges, fashion, sportswear, special-edition beverage cans and containers, stationery, gold bars, seals, and so forth. They feature elements relating to ice and snow sports, and include some Chinese characteristics.
Their delicate designs and environmentally friendly materials have stoked much interest among consumers. For instance, pens made with recycled material like mineral water bottles have been moving off the shelves fast.
"The Winter Olympic Games are still two years away, but I'm super-excited already. Skiing is one of my favorite sports. I bought a lovely low-carbon canvas bag online," said Tian Shen, a 28-year-old bank employee in Beijing and an experienced skier.
In the past two years, the Games committee has signed cooperation agreements with more than 20 sponsors. The latter include major domestic brands across industries such as brewers Tsingtao Brewery Co Ltd and Yanjing Beer Group Co Ltd, wool clothing manufacturer HYX Group, dairy producer Inner Mongolia Yili Industrial Group Co Ltd, and sportswear manufacturer Anta Sports Products Ltd.
The licensed products range from a commemorative envelope priced 9.9 yuan each to handbags, brooches, and gold bars. A gold bar designed to meet the demand of collectible enthusiasts could cost more than 10,000 yuan each.
Last year, Beijing launched special jade and golden seals, which sold at 880,000 yuan and 198,000 yuan each, respectively. There were 5,000 pieces as part of a limited edition. But, by August, the entire stock at a store in Wangfujing Street in Beijing was sold out.
Bing Dwen Dwen, the mascot for the Beijing 2022 Games, is a panda figure in an ice suit. And the mascot for the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Winter Games is Shuey Rhon Rhon, a lantern-like cartoon kid. Both these characters have been used in a variety of ways in the making of several products, which saw brisk sales on the official store on Tmall, an e-commerce platform of Alibaba Group.
A limited edition of 3,000 commemorative badges of Bing Dwen Dwen and Shuey Rhon Rhon was designed for the Lantern Festival, the fifteenth day of the Lunar New Year, which fell on Feb 8 this year. Some 300 badges, at 66 yuan a pair, were bought during February, in spite of the novel coronavirus contagion.
To be sure, as some courier firms suspended their delivery services to Hubei province, the epicenter of the epidemic, 2022 merchandise sales in the region were affected.