- People are snapping up Beijing Winter Olympics souvenirs featuring the games’ panda mascot.
- But there’s a supply crunch due to factory shutdowns over the Chinese New Year break last week.
- Sales of the Beijing Winter Olympics merch could hit 2.5 billion Chinese yuan ($395 million.)
The extensive supply chain squeeze has hit the Beijing Winter Olympics with the production of souvenirs featuring the games’ panda mascot Bing Dwen Dwen unable to keep pace with demand.
The chubby panda in a shell resembling a spacesuit is a massive hit with the Chinese public, many of whom queued for up to seven hours in subzero downtown Beijing over the weekend to snag merch, reported Shanghai Daily.
Despite efforts, many failed to get their hands on the bears, Reuters reported. They are also sold out online or slated for timed sales on the games’ official shop on Alibaba’s Tmall e-commerce platform.
The supply crunch was exacerbated by factory shutdowns over the week-long Chinese New Year break last week, Zhao Weidong, a spokesman of the Beijing Olympics organizing committee, told a news conference on Sunday, per Reuters.
The committee has pledged to ramp up the production of the coveted pandas.
“We are paying close attention to this problem … we are coordinating (with factories) to increase the supply of Bing Dwen Dwen,” Zhao continued.
Zhao also called for more love toward Shuey Rhon Rhon, Paralympic Games mascot that takes the form of a traditional Chinese lantern.
Cao Xue, chief of the design team that came up with Bing Dwen Dwen, told Shanghai Daily demand has been so steep his son hasn’t even been able to get one yet.
“It came as a surprise to us that Bing Dwen Dwen is so popular, and many of my friends and relatives asked whether I have one,” said Cao, per the outlet. “I am sorry to tell that I have none, but there will be some soon.”
This isn’t the first time Chinese fans have ignited a frenzy over a cute stuffed animal character. In October, Ikea’s announcement that it would be discontinuing the stuffed animal shark Blahaj led to a social media meltdown. And in December, fan interest in Disney’s LinaBell, a pink fox plushie, was so intense that a scalper market developed.
Sales of the Beijing Winter Olympics merch could hit 2.5 billion Chinese yuan ($395 million) over the two-week duration of the games, estimated Shanxi Securities, according to financial news site CLS.