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Web China: Military liquor ban drops shares, cheered by netizens

English.news.cn   2012-12-25 23:31:27            

SHANGHAI, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) -- Liquor shares have plunged since the military authorities issued a ban on receptions featuring liquor and luxury banquets.

The Central Military Commission (CMC) last Friday issued ten regulations that forbid high-ranking military officials from indulging in alcohol, luxury banquets, welcome banners, red carpets, floral arrangements, formations of soldiers, performances and souvenirs when making official visits.

The regulations impacted Kweichow Moutai, a famed Chinese liquor producer, sending shares down 5.5 percent on Monday. The company's market value shrank by 12.5 billion yuan (2 billion U.S dollars) on the same day.

Prices for the company's products have skyrocketed in recent years. Wu Jianhua, secretary of the Shanghai Beverage Association, said the price of the company's Feitian Moutai liquor, which cost just 200 yuan per bottle 10 years ago, hit 1,519 per bottle last year.

"Moutai and another two high-level alcohol brands, which are popular with government officials and military officers, account for 20 percent of the total liquor market," said Jian Aihua, a researcher with CIConsulting, a leading industry research institution.

"Despite the high prices, Moutai is still in short supply on the market, especially during festivals," said Wu.

Many netizens have applauded the ban, as they believe it is a necessary step in cracking down on extravagant official expenditures. About 30,000 people have voiced support for the regulations on Sohu.com, a popular Chinese Internet portal.x "Besides the military officers, all government officials should be prohibited from drinking liquor during receptions and meetings," said a netizen using the screenname "Wu Qiujun."

Some netizens believe the ban also challenges traditions, as the coming Spring Festival holiday is the peak season for liquor consumption and official receptions.

Some have suggested that more regulations, such as disclosing reception expenses and banning TV ads for liquor, should be issued in order to break the extravagant reception tradition.

Wang Xuming, a former spokesman for the Ministry of Education, wrote a post on Sina Weibo, a popular microblogging site, asking the government to limit liquor advertising on television, especially during primetime and China Central Television's annual Spring Festival Gala.

"If there were no alcohol advertisements, extravagant receptions featuring expensive liquor could be better controlled," said Wang.

Editor: yan
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