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September 4, 2013

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German hairy crab import fails to materialize

The website which took pre-sale orders for German hairy crabs apologized to customers yesterday after failing to deliver on its promise.

The website said it could not get the necessary clearance from the Chinese authorities and was forced to cancel the deal. Customers can claim a full refund and additional 30 percent compensation on the amount of order placed, according to a statement posted on Weibo by, a group buying website under China’s biggest e-commerce platform

“We are sorry about the German hairy crab issue. We screwed it up,” Zhang Jianfeng, CEO of, said in the statement yesterday.

Zhang said they failed in their efforts to import the crabs from Germany because the company had not been very thoughtful about the process of importing them on such a large scale.

As a result, about 35,000 orders, with a trading amount of more than 9 million yuan (US$1.47 million), from 20,000 customers had to be canceled.

The money will be deposited on the customers Alipay account before Friday, the statement said.

China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine has said it had not given any permission to import or sell German hairy crabs in China. But the importer insisted that the German authorities had issued an inspection and quarantine certificate. The German company involved in the deal got the original production place certificate while the Chinese importer only needed an import and export clearance.

“Hairy crabs are live animals. Therefore, there are a series of inspection and quarantine procedures involved. Our original plan was too optimistic and our innovative pre-sale campaign needs more time to get used to the market,” Zhang said. “Once approved, we will make another bid to promote German hairy crab here,” Zhang said.

The website started selling coupons around August 20. In about three days, they had received more than 300,000 orders for the German crabs.



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