Netizens snapping up Palace souvenirs

Updated: 2014-10-23 07:56

By Su Zhou(China Daily)

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When the Palace Museum in Beijing released a series of creative and cultural souvenirs, they were quickly picked up by social media and generated intense interest online.

A micro blog with more than a million followers posted some of the pictures, and it has been reposted 18,473 times.

One of the pictures features a pair of stereo earphones that look like a string of beads and jewels indicating the rank of officials during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

The museum has wedding products and everyday items, such as pens, notebooks and T-shirts, as well as high-end decorative items that may appeal to collectors.

A floral umbrella draws its inspiration from a cap of Qing Dynasty court officials and functions as both a hat and an umbrella. A cellphone holder is shaped like a Qing Dynasty princess.

Prices of these souvenirs range from 10 yuan ($1.63) to thousands of yuan.

The online discussion has already had an effect on sales. The stereo earphones have been ordered by 140 buyers in the past two days, according to the online store.

Netizens snapping up Palace souvenirs

Ding Yuan, 28, is one of the people who pre-ordered the earphones.

"I saw them on the Sina micro blog when all of my friends were discussing how interesting they are," said Ding, a civil servant in Suzhou, Jiangsu province. "I joked to my friends that it looked like all officials in the court were listening to songs instead of discussing serious issues."

The National Palace Museum in Taipei, Taiwan also released a series of souvenirs that made a splash on the Internet. One of the most popular items is adhesive tape that bears the inscription: "I, the emperor, know it".

Wang Ying, 28, from Taiyuan, Shaanxi province, said she bought the tape last November when visiting the National Palace Museum in Taipei.

"I didn't do research first, so when I got there, I was kind of surprised by the creative souvenirs available," said Wang. "They were not designed simply for decoration. Many of them can be used in daily life. And the quality is great, as can be seen from the detail."

"I have traveled to many places in China and many souvenirs are poor in both design and quality," said Wang. "Many tourists want to buy gifts for friends and it is important to make sure they can buy interesting and good quality items, otherwise why bother to buy souvenirs?"

Feng Tao from the Beijing Tourism Commission said the souvenir market does have problems, such as the lack of intellectual property protection, lack of innovation in design and lack of regulation on the quality and price of items.

"These problems have affected the rights and interests of tourists to Beijing, as well as the image of Beijing tourism," said Feng. "The Beijing Tourism Commission has worked closely with other departments, institutions and companies to introduce more creative souvenirs to meet tourists' demand and protect the intellectual property of developers."

The commission holds an annual competition based on the theme 'Beijing Gift' to encourage more interesting souvenirs from designers.

"Now, souvenirs are not simply for tourists to put on a desk to mark the trip but have expanded their scope to where tourists want souvenirs with creative design and cultural meaning, as well as features that make them useful in daily life," he said.

Li Lin contributed to this story.

(China Daily 10/23/2014 page5)