China Braces for Dragon-Year Baby Boom

Expect huge diaper sales

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 20, 2012 1:44 PM CST

(Newser) – Babies born in the Chinese year of the dragon are believed to have lives marked by success and fortune—so China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other countries are expecting a baby boom to begin right around Jan. 23. That's the first day of the Chinese New Year, and this year the 12-animal zodiac returns to the dragon. Twelve years ago, births in Hong Kong increased 5%; Chinese state news expects a similar figure for China this year, the BBC reports. It's a boon for baby-centered industries: Diaper sales are likely to jump 17%.

Of course, "more people means more competition" at school and work for dragon babies, says a sociology professor. And while it's good news for Taiwan after it saw the world's lowest fertility rate last year—0.9 babies per woman—it will pose a challenge in China. "This will put a lot of pressure on hospitals, kindergartens, and schools," says an expert. Still, the kids will tough it out, says a feng shui group leader. "'When the dragon wants to do something, there will be no stopping him."

Shoppers walk past a Chinese Spring Festival 'Year of the Dragon' display at a shopping center in Beijing on January 20, 2012.
Shoppers walk past a Chinese Spring Festival 'Year of the Dragon' display at a shopping center in Beijing on January 20, 2012.   (Getty Images)
In this Monday Jan. 16, 2012 photo, a huge dragon-shaped lantern is set up for the coming Chinese New Year.
In this Monday Jan. 16, 2012 photo, a huge dragon-shaped lantern is set up for the coming Chinese New Year.   (AP Photo)
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