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China embracing beauty pageants to attract attention to local charms

October 4, 2011 - New Delhi

Provincial governments in China are embracing beauty pageants, which were once considered taboo, to attract attention to local charms.

Sanya, a city on the southern tip of Hainan Island, has hosted five Miss World pageants, as well as all of the New Silk Road model competitions in the new millennium.

It has been reported that Sanya paid large sums for the rights to hold these events, but some say it was worth it:

The resort hotel where the Miss World pageants took place brought in 100 million yuan ($15.6 million) in revenue during the first year, the China Daily reports.

"The so-called beauty economy is a platform for generating attention because we have attracted a lot of eyeballs, which, if handled properly, can be transferred elsewhere where they can create value," said Wang Dong, secretary-general of the Committee of Miss World China Pageant 2011.

Wang revealed that wherever they stage events, local officials greet them with open arms.

"Local governments are aware of the power of cultural activities to boost their image. They have realized that the girls are not only gorgeous, but talented, and they are more willing to be involved," he said.

To deflect criticism, the early pageants always included male participants even though nobody paid them much attention. Another strategy was to call the contests anything but beauty pageants.


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