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January 6, 2016

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E-firecrackers’ sales soar on ban

A BAN on fireworks inside the Outer Ring Road has been a blessing in disguise for stores selling electric firecrackers with most of them saying that sales had doubled since the new year.

The new regulations on fireworks came into effect on January 1 as Shanghai struggles to deal with pollution.

E-firecracker simulates the sound of the real one, and even its gleam, but there is no smoke. It costs between 100 and 200 yuan (US$30) depending on the size.

A Guangdong-based online store for e-firecrackers said the majority of the buyers were from Shanghai.

“There has been a significant jump in sales in Shanghai since January 1. We sell between 40 to 50 electric firecrackers daily in Shanghai,” one of the store workers said. She expects the sales to double with the Spring Festival coming up next month.

On China’s largest online shopping platform Taobao, the search figures for e-firecrackers rose 36.6 percent in the last one month compared to the same period last year.

At a commodity market on Fuyou Road, Cai Shunfa, a store owner, said electric firecrackers were gaining in popularity. “They are safe and environmental friendly. There will be huge demand for them during the lunar New Year,” Cai said.

She said most of her customers bought the e-firecrackers for occasions like weddings, moving houses, start of businesses and festivals.

It has been a tradition in China to light fireworks during festive seasons like the Spring Festival, or during celebratory events like weddings. But they not only posed safety risks but has also been blamed for air pollution.

“We have been suggesting e-firecrackers for newly married couples instead of the real thing,” said Helen Zhang, who works for a local wedding service company. “But there are still people who insist on lighting the real firecrackers even at the risk of being fined,” she added.

During a crackdown after the New Year’s Day, two people who illegally stored fireworks were detained, while four violators were fined 100 yuan each.


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