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Hong Kong Trinkets Won't Wait for '97

September 08, 1996|ASSOCIATED PRESS

Why wait until next year when you can pick up souvenirs of the big switcheroo right now?

The turnover of the British colony of Hong Kong to China on July 1, 1997, is "the ultimate, once-in-a-lifetime consumer event," notes the Hong Kong Standard newspaper. So, marketers are gearing up now.

On the train from Canton, China, to the Hong Kong border these days, attendants cruise the aisles hawking specially minted coins and other mementos to tourists. Among other souvenirs are T-shirts with slogans such as "The Great Chinese Take-Away."

The Ocean Palace Restaurant and Nightclub in Kowloon serves a "97-Return Banquet," with dishes such as "Happy Handover Day."

Tens of thousands of tourists are expected to converge on Hong Kong when China regains control of the British colony. Hotels stand to reap a bonanza.

As for Communist China, it has frowned on 1997 gimmickry. Nonetheless, a Chinese company took out ads in Hong Kong newspapers touting a brand of cigarettes called "1997."

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