Mooncake bribery, an infographic

China’s President Xi Jinping has called for an end to excessive holiday gifting in business and government, calling it an “unhealthy tendency.” In recent years luxury mooncake packages containing, for example, Champagne or vouchers for luxury items have been gifted as a means of “securing relationships.” This scale of gifting, we have been told by the official Chinese media, is a display of “incorrect values.”

But what should you do if you are still ascending the ladder and need to gain access and influence? This Mid-Autumn Festival, Expat Lingo provides the following mooncake subterfuge infographic to aid aspiring cadres and business leaders in their quest for guanxi (click for full size):

Expat Lingo Mooncake Infographic


More information:

Are you a simple citizen who merely wants to buy Tai Pan Snowy Mooncakes in Hong Kong and bring them back to Mainland China? Please see last year’s guide to cross-border trading, Smuggling Mooncakes to China:

Expat Lingo comic: Smuggling Mooncakes to China

For more on mooncakes see: “China media calls for end to mooncake ‘bribery’” from the South China Morning Post by Wu Nan (8 Sept. 2013) and “What’s the big deal about Mooncakes?” from CNN Travel by Zoe Li (28 Sept. 2012).

21 responses to “Mooncake bribery, an infographic

    • I ate a run of the mill traditional, but sweet, one last year as part of a toddler playgroup party. It was fine. Better than most Christmas fruit cake. Perhaps this year I’ll indulge in the Haagen Daz version. How about you?

      • I was in Taipei very briefly last week (yes, that’s quite brief), and had the chance to have an overly sweet one with a plum filling 棗泥. My dad likes the ones from his youth in Northern China – it’s not sweet but filled with onions or veggies, or something. The best ones are the ones with ice cream centers. So glad I’m writing this comment first thing in the morning when my stomach hasn’t woken up yet.

      • Our household was moon cake free until yesterday. My husband was in Zhuhai for work and was gifted several boxes. If we’re lucky, he took them into the office today to ‘share the warmth of the season’ with his work colleagues.

      • Nothing super festive to speak of, though the Halloween decorations are up (gasp!)… Though I have to say that mooncakes probably make a better “bribery delivery package” than an actual edible dessert. I’ve never been a fan!! Esp the huge ones w/the yolks! Bleh!

  1. We are knee deep in moon cakes over here, but maybe I better dig them out and start sifting through them to see if someone wants to “build influence” with us!

  2. I once flew back to SFO from HKG with a box of Mooncake in my possession and had to be X-rayed going through Custom. The Custom guy told me they need to make sure there wasn’t any egg yolk hidden inside. Dried egg yolk is classified as farm product and strictly prohibited from outside of California. I was lucky there wasn’t or I would have to give it up and pay a hefty fine.

  3. Hahaha. An unhealthy tendency. That’s funny to me. Asians are in general in quite good health… And it’s not like moon cakes are a year-round thing… Mooncake bribery. I suppose, then, that they should do away with all guanxi? Yeah, right. 😀

    • Ha! I assumed he meant bribery was an unhealthy tendency, but maybe the whole announcement had nothing at all to do with corruption, but was all about no consuming to much fat and sugar. Too funny.

    • actually Jessica, Chinese New Year another excellent time for bribes in the red packets…or any occasions (ie weddings, baby showers, anniversaries.)

  4. I liked it for the “conventional inedibility” bit. But, many err, yue ago, some Shenzhen convenience stores were selling progressive (edible) varieties. Taro was a memorable flavor.

    • Theoretically something tasty and freshly baked in a pastry case should be delicious. Maybe its the long-life, shelf stable constraint that gives them a bad name. When will China’s McDonald’s come out with mooncake-shaped hot apple pies?

      • maybe KFC could come out with infinite life shelf stable apple pies in mooncake shape? or maybe available in Park n Shop in China?

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