This year Valentine's Day occurs on the same day as the Chinese New Year, bringing more challenges for merchants. Many of them are racking their brains looking for ways to win more customers. Liu Min reports.
When Valentine's Day, the most popular western festival in China, falls on the same day as the traditional Chinese New Year, things get interesting.
Florists usually receive orders for flowers two weeks ahead of Valentine's Day, but this year, shop owners like Hu Ping doesn't know what to do.
"Usually 30 percent of the orders for Valentine's Day roses are sent in, but up to now I haven't received any orders."
While roses don't seem to be in demand this year, florists say they have been receiving orders for other kinds of flowers, especially ones with lucky Chinese names that will be given to family members and friends during the Spring Festival.
Some smart flower merchants have come up with some new ideas to promote their flowers such as the Butterfly Orchid. One florist says the elegant and romantic orchid has multiple meanings.
"You can give this to both family members and your girlfriend. Our orders for these kind of flowers have increased this year."
Shopping centers are also encountering similar challenges. The first day of the lunar New Year is usually the day when family members visit each other, so there are fewer people shopping than on the days following the Spring Festival.
But Valentine's Day is usually a big sale time for shopping malls.
Guan Xiaoyan is the manager of Xidan Joy City Shopping Center.
"Valentine's Day last year broke our record of 200 thousand customers a day, but this year we estimate that there will be fewer people shopping here."
Some shoppers say they will avoid malls on February 14th so they can spend the Chinese New Year with their families.
"Spring Festival is more important, I think. I'm going to be with my parents since it's the first day of the New Year, so of course, I won't spend the day only with my boyfriend!"
In order to make up the losses, many shopping malls have already started to promote Valentine's Day, providing considerable discounts on numerous products. But when it comes to cinemas, there seems to be no worry at all about the possibility of a drop in business.
Bao Xuefeng is the manager of Meijia Joy Movie Theater.
"This year's movies have multiple choices for moviegoers, including romantic stories for lovers, cartoon movies for children, kung fu and comedy stories for the New Year. Some good movies only will debut right after Valentine's Day. So this western festival is still very important to our movie market."
The falling of Valentine's Day on the same day as the Chinese Lunar New Year has happened only three times in the past one hundred years. The next time the two festivals coincide will be in 2048.
Traditional Chinese merchants regard this as a good sign for their business in the upcoming lunar year, as a traditional saying has it that "good things occur in pairs."
For Biz China, I'm Liu Min.