Originally Posted by Another New Yorker
Tell me more about these fake Marlboro cigarettes. You're scaring me.
Something you may have noticed if you look at the choice of cigarettes in a store, is that they're all Chinese brands. Basically in China the entire cigarette industry is state owned
, and AFAICT the Chinese government is very protective of this. So any western brands like Marlboro or 555s, you see on sale will either have been imported and are rather pricy, or they're counterfeit and made from god knows what.
Cigarettes are a status symbol as well for many men, as the prices can vary from incredibly cheap like say 60c (USD) a packet to over $30 bucks for 20. If one is rich, one likes to be seen smoking an expensive brand of cigarettes. Mao Zedong liked to smoke Zhounghua and imported 555s.
Then there are the 'special' unbranded cigarettes that only high-up government people have....
... one can't actually buy these. They're given as gifts to some VIPs.
Hong Kong and Macau are different. One will see mostly western brands here, with few Chinese brands. Also they're priced similarly(heavily taxed) as well, just like in the US and UK.Edited by MikeDT - 7/28/11 at 10:55pm