We missed this story last week, but it’s just too good not to post. A restaurant chain drew queues of over a thousand in Taiyuan and three other cities in Shanxi province after its owner announced he was giving away 500,000 yuan worth of shark’s fin free:
Mr Shangguan Junle, the chairman of Haomen Jipin Restaurants, wrote on the Twitter-like Sina Weibo last week that he had decided to stop serving shark’s fin from the beginning of this year to ‘protect sharks and the environment’.
But the 34-year-old entrepreneur felt it would be too wasteful to throw away his remaining stock.
He announced last week that he would give away 2,800 servings of shark’s fin dishes at his restaurant outlets starting from 10am on Tuesday.
Public acceptance of his unusual decision (marketing stunt?) is mixed:
The businessman’s vow of “no more shark fins” followed by giveaways of it was regarded as contradictory, after his post attracted both praise for “benevolence,” and criticism for being “hypocrisy” from Internet users.
Some viewed it admirably, classifying Shangguan as a role model, but others found him insincere and interpreted it as a promotional stunt.
Wang Kai, an anchorman with the China Central Television (CCTV), commented that it would be better if Shangguan sold the stock and donated the proceeds to environmental organizations.
Shangguan said he anticipated that his decision would be dubbed as a shallow promotion, but that doesn’t matter as long as it helps end the shark-fin market.
Although shark’s fin dishes account for a third of his 50 million yuan annual turnover, Shangguan said he was moved to stop selling shark’s fin because of the French documentary “Oceans”, as well as Yao Ming’s campaign. China Daily adds that in March, a group of lawmakers proposed a nationwide ban in the trade of shark’s fin.