Chinese is cheap no more, especially when it comes to Diwali crackers and decoratives. While China-made idols, candles, lamps and fireworks have been popular in India during the festive season, it’s a different story this year. Shopkeepers at wholesale hubs have hiked the prices steeply citing the fall of the rupee as the cause, and as a result, the sale of the once-popular ‘Chinese maal’ has taken a hit.
A packet of fancy Chinese garland crackers, for instance, was priced at `650 in 2011 but comes with a tag of `950 this year. A box of Chinese aerials that could be bought at `250 not so long ago is now being sold at just double the price — `500.
“Picchle saal ke muqable is baar 40% kam sale hua hai Chinese patakhon ka, sab mehenga ho gaya hai na dollar ki vajah se (Compared to last year, there has been a 40% drop in the sale of Chinese products since they are more expensive thanks to the dollar drama),” says Naeem Shakeel, a shop owner in Old Delhi.
Harjeet Singh Bajwa, another shopkeeper in the area, says there’s no point stocking the stuff anymore. “Why should people buy such costly crackers from China when you can get products made in the south of India at half the price. I have only kept bare minimal Chinese items for a bit of variety.”