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Cultural products see market potential in Year of Rat

Updated: 2020-02-06 14:27:03

( People's Daily Online )

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A special stamp for the Year of the Rat.[Photo/Beijing Evening News]

The Chinese zodiac is a cultural symbol familiar to every Chinese. As the 12 animals of the zodiac are also a source of infinite inspiration for modern designers, Chinese zodiac culture is also forming a unique brand that impacts both the domestic and overseas markets.

The Year of the Rat also looks to be a harvest year for zodiac-related cultural and innovative products, such as rat-themed cell phone cases, wines, stuffed toys, commemorative coins and even clothes.

But the first thing that pops into people’s minds when it comes to Chinese zodiac-themed products is always stamps.

China Post issued two stamps in 2020 to mark the Year of the Rat. One featured a jumping rat designed to celebrate the remarkable achievements China has made, and the other has a rat family gazing at some peanuts, portraying the wish for a harvest year and happy life.

These two stamps were designed by artist Han Meilin. Han, who was born in 1936, also a Year of the Rat, said he designed the stamps to be cute. “I drew over 700 rats this time, which is the smallest work I’ve done,” he said.

This marks the fortieth year in a row that China Post has issued Chinese zodiac-themed stamps, and every year the stamps have been designed by renowned artists, explained an executive from the corporation, saying the stamps can resonate with customers.

According to T-Mall, an online shopping platform under e-commerce giant Alibaba, the flagship store of China Post ranks fourth on the platform among all sellers of cultural and innovative products in terms of sales volume, and the rat-themed stamps are also among the best-sellers.

These stamps are not only popular with Chinese consumers, but also attract many foreign collectors. In recent years, over 100 countries and regions have been issuing such stamps annually.

“The Chinese zodiac is a bridge and rainbow for East-West cultural communication. Foreigners don’t always understand Chinese culture, but the 12 animals enjoy natural advantages and it’s easy for them to strike a chord,” said Sophia Zhang, a Chinese-New Zealander engaged in graphic design.

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