China celebrates Lunar New Year

Jan. 26, 2009 at 12:39 PM

BEIJING, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Beijing residents spent 13.4 percent more on Lunar New Year's preparations than last year, the government announced Monday.

The $85.2 million shopping spree included more than 68 tons of fireworks set off Sunday to mark the New Year, which officially began Monday, reported Xinhua, China's state-run news agency.

Sales of food and fireworks were brisk despite China's economic downturn and the loss of millions of jobs throughout the country, Xinhua reported.

The Chinese Lunar New Year coincided with India's celebration of 60 years as a republic, prompting Indians doing business in China to hold joint celebrations.

"Double festivals bring double happiness," said Arvind Chandak, chief executive officer of India Aurobindo Biopharmaceuticals.

To ease the economic turmoil, the Chinese government has aided Aurobindo with employee training and low energy prices, giving the company confidence about the future, Chandak said.

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