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Tokyo Olympics: "Lucky charm" of China's first gold medallist sparks merchandise boom
Qing Na
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Tokyo Olympics: "Lucky charm" of China's first gold medallist sparks merchandise boom

Header image: Yang Qian has won two gold medals for shooting including China’s first gold at Tokyo Olympics. (Source: People’s Daily, Southern Finance Report; moderated.)

Yang Qian, the Chinese shooter who won the first gold medal of the Tokyo Olympics in the women’s 10-meter rifle competition, has not only made the country proud but also stirred national consumption craze. Her little yellow duck hairpin and the carrot hairband she worn at the games have become the go-to for Olympic consumers.

Online searches for the two items saw a surge of more than 420% and 210% respectively on the day of the victory according to Taobao, one of China’s biggest online shopping platforms. At least 70,000 yellow duck hairpins were sold in just three days compared to a monthly sale of 800 in pre-Olympic times, a 100-fold increase in daily sales.

Manufacturers and retailers have been working around the clock to catch up with consumer demand, according to local media reports in Yi Wu, a county-level city in Zhejiang province - the home to the world’s largest small commodities market. The Yi Wu International Trade Market is also known as the “market vane” of China's small commodity production.

“Soon after Yang won the gold medal, we replaced all of our adverts with posters carrying Yang’s pictures and the words ‘Congratulations to Yang Qian for wining the championship’, and at the same time lowered the price of the hairclip to 3 yuan (33p) each,” said Hu Jungang, an online shop owner who sells the hairpin told state broadcaster CCTV.

Peng Hanfang, the owner of a retail store at the Yiwu International Trade Market said, “We’ve been supplying [these accessories] for quite a long time and sales were quite poor. Now even some flagship stores have ordered them.”

Many shoppers regard the “lucky charm” of the 21-year-old Olympian as a “symbol of luck” while others see it as a source of motivation. “I want good luck and it makes me feel closer to the world champion!” one customer commented on an online store. “It’s not that I want to be a celebrity like her. It’s about showing my support for her and for the country,” said another.

According to Southern Finance Report, customers who have ordered these products are mainly Millennials who are of similar ages to Chinese athletes competing at this year’s Olympics. The average age of the 431 Olympians is 25.4, according to the Tokyo Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. While those in their 40s have also contributed to the merchandise boom, as parents hope these items could be an inspiration from Olympic role models for their children.

Apart from hair accessories, the demand for manicure products in the same style as Yang’s has also increased since she shot to fame. Liu, a manicurist who runs a nail salon in Guangzhou told local media that she has been serving three to four customers every day who have asked for the same manicure as Yang’s. And the sales of crayfish have gone up too as the gold medallist said her favourite dish is spicy crayfish cooked by her mother in an interview after she picked up the first gold.

Qing NaQing Na

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