Santa’s Chinese elves – Pallavi Ayar
While Santa Claus lives it up with Rudolph at the North Pole, his elves have relocated to southern China’s towns and villages.
Some 70% of the world’s Christmas ornaments and other paraphernalia now originate in officially atheist mainland China. Tinsel, Santas, mistletoe and artificial trees of every shape and hue are churned out at a relentless pace by thousands of factory workers in Guangdong, Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces.
According to the China General Administration of customs, Guangdong on its own exported more than US$620 million worth of Christmas products in 2004. For the country as a whole, the figure was over $1 billion.