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June 4, 2010

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Fewer stamps dull passport profits

THE decision by some pavilions to quit stamping souvenir passports has tripped up those entrepreneurs who have cashed in on the World Expo by selling pre-stamped passports.

On, one of China's biggest online trading platforms, sellers are now charging 280 yuan (US$ 41) for a passport with stamps of 40-plus national pavilions - a big drop in price now that the stamps of some pavilions, such as Norway, Denmark and Italy, are omitted.

A month ago, passports with a complete collection of over 40 pavilions sold for up to 750 yuan.

Some pavilions decided on Tuesday to quit stamping passports because they had been tired of Expo visitors coming to their pavilions for no other reason than the stamps.

To make it up to customers, some passport sellers at promise to collect more stamps from small pavilions not listed in the passports. They are also offering bigger discounts, faster deliveries and more small gifts.

"The price has reached the bottom as we are facing challenges, both from the halt of stamping service and the fierce competitions in the business field," said Jiang Huibin, a popular seller on

Jiang said he was among the first to jump into the business at the beginning of May and sold about 300 passports in the past 30 days.

But he said his business was crushed by more profit-seeking competitors. At, for example, passport-selling takes up 25 pages, with more than 100 persons or companies offering the ready-made souvenirs for sale.

Jiang and his nine colleagues were working as a stamp-collecting team, visiting the Expo site every day and touring each pavilion just to get the souvenir books stamped.

Some other passport sellers, meanwhile, are taking another tack: Trying to collect all 300-plus stamps at the World Expo site.

"Every seller is working on the project, but no one has come up with a complete collection," said seller Yang Liang.

"We have already collected about 60 stamps," Yang added. "The first complete collection may be on sale via the Internet in two weeks."

Yang said his group has received orders from all over the world, with some customers offering up to 9,000 yuan.


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