Fireworks vendors in Beijing have reported a slow start for sales ahead of the Spring Festival holiday, with customers reportedly put off by higher prices and a lack of approved outlets.
Just 511 firecracker and fireworks stalls were approved in Beijing this year, a drop from last year's 719, and none remain inside the Third Ring Road, according to the city's office of firework management.
The vendors' licenses are valid for just 11 days from Jan 22 to Feb 1, and all sales will be temporarily suspended if an orange or red alert for air pollution is triggered.
Even at the approved outlets, customers have been slow to show.
"The sales are not going well, judging from the first two days," said an owner surnamed Wang in Tiantongyuan, a residential area of Beijing.
"We pretty much saw this coming and we didn't prepare a lot of goods in the first place."
He said that smaller fireworks had been his best sellers because they are the least expensive and are popular among parents of small children.
Panda Fireworks, the only company distributing fireworks in the capital's urban areas this year, has estimated a 20-to-30 percent decrease in sales, according to Beijing Daily.