When the economy is galloping at a double digit pace and a market of over a billion people, every festival can turn onto a commercial extravaganza. The Qingming Festival or the Tomb Sweeping Day which falls on April 5 is going to be no different. It is a time for paying respect to the ancestors according to Chinese custom. People make sacrificial offering to their ancestors of the things they think they would like.
Taking this concept forward the sacrificial offering shops have put paper-made versions of Apple products on their shelves. The Chinese who are experts at making knock offs have done a good job with paper as well. The paper products also look quite like the real thing. A package of two iPads and four iPhones, paper-made and in different colors, goes for 6 yuan (90 cents), at a shop named Yongxinghang. A MacBook also costs 6 yuan. The trend has caught on big time and you have Panasonic LCD TV sets, and every electrical home appliance one can think of, as well as the more traditional cash, credit cards, clothes, air tickets, seafood, cars, villas, face wash and aftershave made from paper available in these sacrificial offering shops.
The logos and the brand names printed on the paper replicas resemble closely the big names but often the brand is mingwang, or “the king of the dead”. With the demand for luxury goods going up in China their paper versions are also appearing in these shops. A package of three bottles of the Moutai and cups, all made of paper, costs 8 yuan. An elderly lady who bought the set said that her deceased husband loved to drink and she will burn the premium liquor for him during the Qingming festival. According to rough estimates made by China Consumers’ Association, more than 10,000 tons of paper products are burnt in China during the festival.