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Feb 14, 2010
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Holiday crush leaves China e-shoppers in lurch

Feb 14, 2010

BEIJING, Feb 12, 2010 (AFP) - China's huge number of Internet shoppers have flooded online retailers with Lunar New Year orders -- so much so that some shops were forced to suspend holiday delivery.

Photo: AFP/File/Mark Ralston

The country's biggest online retail site Taobao expects New Year sales to soar to a massive one billion yuan (146 million dollars), from 280 million yuan a year ago, according to the China Daily.

Stores on Taobao stopped taking orders or delivering goods at the beginning of this month, while other outlets cut off sales this week ahead of the weekend festivities -- sparking panic for devoted e-shoppers.

"I felt really anxious... I think I'm suffering from a sort of Taobao syndrome," said Zhang Chi, 26, who spent more than 3,000 yuan in five days buying cosmetics and other items she needed to ring in the New Year.

"New clothes are at the top of my must-have list because I will visit my boyfriend's family and also attend many parties with friends during the Spring Festival," she said.

Some courier companies will try to help out panicked e-buyers during the week-long holiday -- but will charge extra for the privilege and warn that delays should be expected.

China has the world's largest online population with 384 million users. Online shoppers in the country spent around 250 billion yuan in 2009, more than double the value recorded a year ago, according to official data.

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