The craze for Chinese products as Diwali gifts has been rising with demand going up by 45 per cent, a quick survey by ASSOCHAM-Social Development Foundation (ASDF) says.

The Associated Chamber of Commerce and Industry of India survey said the Chinese items that were most sought after were fancy lights, lampshades, Ganesha and Laxmi idols, rangolis and crackers.

Local artisans are facing stiff competition to sell their products, the Chamber's Secretary General, D S Rawat said.

Over 78 per cent costumers said Chinese lights were almost 50 per cent cheaper compared with Indian lights and had greater variety, saving nearly 35 per cent of Diwali budgets at a time of rising inflation.

Nearly 72 per cent traders said demand for the earthen diyas has been dipping year after year in favour of designer diyas and Chinese lights.

“A Chinese string of 100 tiny bulbs can be bought at Rs 40 to Rs 60. Lights in the shape of pineapples, pomegranates, rice and net stars among others are seen to be popular among buyers”, added the traders in Sadar Bazaar, the biggest wholesale market in North India.

People use Chinese items because they are cheap and also consume less electricity. Even the poor can afford to buy them, said some traders.

Riding on variety and affordability, Chinese crackers are also finding more takers, said the survey. Nearly 82 per cent wholesalers said that Chinese crackers were more colourful, produced more sound, had a lot of variety and were cheap compared to Indian ones.

Rawat alleged that Chinese fireworks were entering India illegally through Nepal to eat into Rs 1,800 crore domestic market.

The survey said Chinese-made lightweight idols of Hindu Gods and Goddesses and readymade rangolis that can be pasted on floors or walls were also selling like hot cakes.

(This article was published on November 6, 2012)
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