The Business Times

Santa is now big business in Shanghai, Dubai malls

Christmas has become a mega shopping season in non-Christian countries

Published Thu, Dec 18, 2014 · 09:50 PM
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New York

IT'S a typical holiday scene in the US: a decked-out Christmas tree, twinkling lights and a line of shoppers waiting for Santa Claus.

Except for one's Shanghai.

Christmas retail displays are becoming increasingly common in China and other parts of the world that don't traditionally observe the holiday. Global brands and local merchants are promoting the yuletide season with sales, tinsel and events, aiming to get shoppers in Asia and the Middle East to catch the Christmas spirit - and open their wallets.

"When I was growing up, all I knew about Christmas was Santa Claus and that it was a Western festival," said Crystal Zhao, 23, a Shanghai resident. That's changed, she said. Though …

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