A woman shows her wares. (Photo/CNS)
As Chinese attitudes to sex evolve, products for the bedroom are becoming more commonplace; from hotel mini-bars to convenience stores and in the country's booming retail outlets specializing in sex toys, the things are everywhere, news agency Reuters reports.
Thirty years ago, the mere image of a couple in passionate embrace on the back of a magazine could trigger fierce criticism and a whirlwind of complaint from the public, the report said. Yet beginning with the national wave of modernization ushered in by Deng Xiaoping's "reform and opening up" policies, public attitudes toward sex have transformed. This, coupled with the wide open access to new information the internet has brought, means the sex toy market is throbbing and it presents big opportunities to farsighted entrepreneurs.
The Chinese public, to preserve their modesty, overwhelmingly choose to buy their adult toys online, and it is a growing trend. One insider predicts the size of the trade to quadruple in just two years.
Lin Degang, founder of an online adult shop, says 70% of his customers are men -- mostly young men in their late 20s or early 30s. He predicts that by 2014, the market will grow from last year's 10 billion yuan (US$1.6 billion) to 40 billion yuan (US$6.4 billion). "Within five years, sex toys will become daily necessities. It's a key element to the fashionable lifestyle," Lin says.
Today in China, sex toys are for sale everywhere. With prices as low as US$15 for some imported products, one can find them in adult "health" stores to hotel rooms in Shanghai. Two investment firms in August sunk in 300 million yuan (US$48 million) to jointly operate the country's largest manufacturer, indicating big business interests expect sex toy sales in China to soar.
Most of the products available in adult shops in Shanghai's residential areas are imported from Japan and Sweden, and popular items sell for as much as US$200. However, the majority of buyers still head to the internet. "Buying a sex toy from a store is just too embarrassing for me," says Candies Zheng, "I only buy them online."