By Xinhua writers Liang Saiyu and Ji Shaoting
JINGDEZHEN, Nanchang, Oct. 20 (Xinhua) -- China's celebrated "Chairman Mao" Porcelain is being snubbed for the first time by domestic officials following a nationwide anti-corruption campaign, business delegates at an ongoing ceramics fair say.
Replicas of such porcelain, a tailor-made ceramic once crafted for former Chinese President Mao Zedong, are a form of tribute usually priced at 10,000 yuan (about 1,640 U.S.dollars) per piece. However, their sales have witnessed dramatic declines in the gift market this year, said Huang Kai, deputy manager of Hongxinge Porcelain Co. Ltd.
"The nationwide frugality campaign and the central government's stricter control over expenses for official receptions have chilled the gift market," Huang told Xinhua on the sidelines of the Jingdezhen International Ceramics Fair, which will close on Tuesday in Jingdezhen, a Chinese porcelain base in central Jiangxi Province.
With Hongxinge Porcelain Co. Ltd having produced Chairman Mao Porcelain since 1966, Huang said such gift ceramics featuring red colors and peach and plum blossom, have long been favored by government departments and enterprises for their traditional and elegant design.
Previously, orders from government and enterprises accounted for over half of overall sales. But so far this year, its sales have dropped by 30 to 40 percent from the same period last year, Huang said.
Similar chills have been felt by Jingdezhen Ceramic Co., Ltd, a state-owned enterprise (SOE) which has come to depend on group purchases by government departments and other SOEs for half of its annual orders and one-third of its yearly turnover.
Wang Yao, a representative of Jingdezhen Ceramic attending the five-day exhibition, said that this year its sales of gift ceramics had dwindled by roughly 30 percent.