As China enters the World Trade Organization, its citizens will see more foreign retailers like France's Carrefour and America's Wal-Mart enter the marketplace, and local businesses may have to resort to less traditional promotion techniques to keep up with the increased competition.
In the migrant city of Shenzhen, founded 20 years ago as China's first special economic zone, the upscale Haiya Departmental Store had already slashed its prices and has advertised sales to entice more shoppers. But those steps weren't enough. It needed more publicity. So last week, the store's Japanese management team offered a free television set to the Shenzhen woman possessing the largest breasts.
The store initially wanted to hold a contest for the longest kiss, but an overwhelming lack of response led organizers to dump the smooching in favor of the big boobs. Although China's political climate is outwardly conservative, and generally frowns upon sexual attention of any kind, as of last week seven women had already entered the contest.
"The leading candidate so far is someone who has reported that her bust measures 117 centimeters (almost 47 inches), a Haiya executive proudly told the Straits Times.
In addition to the biggest-bust prize, the store is offering free televisions to winners of seven other categories, including the tallest man and woman, the man with the longest beard, the woman with the longest hair, the woman with the longest fingernails, the heaviest person and the couple who've been married the longest.
But obviously, the mammaries are attracting the most attention. The Haiya executive told a reporter that he had not personally met -- or measured -- the chest-heavy contestant currently in the lead, but suspected she might have a plump figure.