Baby-shaped pears: marketing ploy or mythical fruit? (Internet Photo)
A photo posted on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo shows a box of pears for sale at a supermarket where the fruit resemble a human baby, with face and all, reports the Chinese-language Beijing Morning News.
Netizens said they thought the pears looked creepy and felt as though the "babies" could open their eyes at any time.
"I saw scary pears today at Sam's Club (supermarket). I felt they were interesting, so I took a photo of them and uploaded it on Sina Weibo. A box cost 20 yuan (US$3.20)," said a netizen surnamed Wang.
A reporter who followed up on the claims did not find the fruits in the supermarket. A staff member from the supermarket said the pears were sold out and were unsure when another batch would arrive.
Some netizens said the pears look like ginseng fruits, a mythical fruit from the classic Chinese novel Journey to West. The fruit in the novel is said to be in the shape of a young human and takes 10,000 years to become ripe. According to legend, people who take a bite of the fruit would live an additional 47,000 years.
The reporter also found many online shops selling saplings of the creepy-fruited pear tree, with one shop allegedly selling 2,000 saplings within three months. Some customers said, however, that the saplings are hard to grow and the pears they produce are just normal pears without a baby's face.
"It's obvious that the pears were grown in a mold to control their shape. They have the same nutrition as other normal pears," said an agriculture expert, who added that he considers them to be no more than a marketing ploy and hopes other farmers will not follow suit.