Fair-goers shun politicians and put on an appy face

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 21 January, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 January, 2012, 12:00am


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Lunar New Year shoppers are voting with their wallets - and the candidates for chief executive are lagging behind goodies based on smartphone apps.

As the Lunar New Year fair in Victoria Park rolls on, cushions designed to look like iPhone apps are flying off the shelves, with the price of a Facebook cushion having more than doubled to HK$208.

But the price of a chess set depicting politicians has been slashed in half.

The cushions are being sold by a Shue Yan University student nicknamed Fish Li and her classmates. They are based on popular apps such as WhatsApp, iTunes and YouTube, but Facebook has proven to be the biggest hit.

'We sold the Facebook cushion for HK$88 on the first day. Now people are paying HK$208. There are just a few of them remaining,' Li said.

At another stall in the park, Jash So, 26, is lowering the price of a chess game with pieces based on politicians and officials. Chief executive hopefuls Henry Tang Ying-yen and Leung Chun-ying have been transformed into a pig and a wolf in the game.

'We've sold about 200 of them and 800 sets are remaining,' So said. 'On the first day we sold it at HK$88 or HK$108. Today, the promotional price is HK$40.'

Other creative stallholders are also enjoying a successful fair. Charriel Leung, who designed faucet-shaped hats and dragon-tail accessories, has sold one third of his stock.

And he could benefit as cold weather sets in over the weekend. Temperatures are predicted to fall to 11 degrees Celsius tomorrow and remain between nine and 12 degrees during the holiday, according to Observatory forecasts.

'Cold weather will be good for our business as people need hats to stay warm,' Leung said.

But not everyone is happy about the weather. Warm conditions made flowers blossom earlier than they should, hitting the trade.

Gladioli blossomed after two days of sunshine, one seller said. As most people wanted the flowers to remain in bloom throughout the Lunar New Year holiday, they are not willing to pay as much for ones that are already blossoming.

The flower costs between HK$10 and HK$20, with the lowest price similar to last year's. The appreciation of the yuan has pushed up the price of other flowers, with lilies up to 70 per cent more expensive than last year. But prices started to dip yesterday as sellers tried to get rid of their remaining stocks before the fair ends on Monday morning.

Meanwhile, one fifth of 263 people surveyed by the Association for Democracy and People's Livelihood said they would not hand out red lai see packets, up from 15 per cent last year. People were worried about the economic outlook, the party said.

About 80 per cent of respondents had collected the government's HK$6,000 handout, but only 30 per cent indicated they would increase their festive spending.