Xi's anti-corruption campaign is chasing Chinese holiday shoppers overseas

Xi's anti-corruption campaign is chasing Chinese holiday shoppers overseas
A food store in Shanghai is filled with shoppers ahead of the Feb 18-24 Chinese Lunar New Year vacation.

SHANGHAI/TOKYO - Chinese President Xi Jinping's anti-corruption campaign is casting a shadow over Lunar New Year spending in China.

The most important spread of holidays for Chinese -- and the country's biggest spending spree -- falls on Feb. 18-24 this year. Not only do workers get off seven days in a row, many of them will be carrying wallets fattened by bonuses.

But there are no signs of lavish Chinese government and company spending this year.

While Shanghai First Food Hall, a major food store in the city, is filled with shoppers ahead of the Lunar New Year vacation, the alcoholic beverage aisle remains quiet. Snake-shaped bottles of baijiu, a luxury distilled spirit, remain on a shelf, priced at 29,800 yuan (S$6,472). They have been there since 2013, the year of the snake.

During the regime of Hu Jintao, Xi's predecessor, companies would gift baiju to senior government officials because the bottles of liquor could be readily exchanged for cash at certain shops.

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