From birds nest farmers to pop stars—the unexpected casualties of China’s spending crackdown


The Communist Party’s wide-ranging crackdown on luxury spending has already taken a very public toll on hotels, mooncake bakers and brewers of the powerful liquor called baijiu. Ahead of Chinese New Year celebrations, a week gift-giving and family festivity that begins Jan. 30, here’s a look at some other less-noticed industries feeling the pinch from the government’s new-found austerity.

Pop idols: Local and national television channels, which are predominantly government-run, have slashed spending on New Years extravaganzas, both the Dec. 31 and the lunar variety. Just two years ago, Chinese channels spent 200 million yuan ($33 million) on 16 New Year’s Eve shows with of celebrities including Canada’s Avril Lavigne (who sang “Girlfriend”), Hong Kong superstar Faye Wang, and Taiwan’s Jolin Tsai. The year before, Shakira performed “Hips Don’t Lie.”

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In 2013 only four television stations hosted New Year countdown galas, and they invited talent from their own shows—artists that are…

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