The Straits Times
Published on Feb 21, 2013

Anti-waste call sobers up China luxury food market


BEIJING (AP) - China's suppliers of shark fin, abalone, pricey liquor and other luxury items have been taking a beating since new leader Xi Jinping ordered officials to cut out lavish living.

The Ministry of Commerce said on Wednesday that business for high-end caterers in Beijing has plunged 35 per cent since Xi's order two months ago.

Xi, who took power in November as Communist Party general secretary, ordered the elimination of banquets and other pomp that has alienated a public that is struggling with high living costs.

During last week's Lunar New Year holiday, sales of shark fin soup at Beijing hotels plunged 70 per cent, the ministry said. Sales of abalone and bird's nest soup fell 40 percent.Makers of expensive liquor have seen sales weaken, and some have cut prices by up to 30 per cent.