BEIJING, Jan. 3 (Xinhua) -- Beijing's major commercial outlets started the year 2013 with a business boom as shopping prevailed over travels as citizens' favorite activity during the New Year holiday.
Beijing marked the "coldest New Year" from January 1 to 3, with temperatures constantly dropping below minus-10 degrees Celsius, and the bitter cold might have contributed to the business boom by luring many holiday goers into air-conditioned shopping malls.
Statistics from Beijing Commercial Information Consulting Center show the 100 major commercial and service enterprises in the city recorded 2.34 billion yuan (372 million U.S. dollars) in sales during the three-day holiday, rising 8.4 percent from a year earlier.
Gold products were among Beijingers' most favored shopping items due to traditional affections in the precious metal as New Year gifts and the upward trend in the gold price globally, according to the center.
Caishikou and Guohua, two major gold markets in Beijing, raked in more than 400 million yuan from the three days' sales of gold products, the center said.
Sales of household appliances was also sanguine, with the troika of Suning, Gome and Dazhong Electronics reporting a year-on-year increase of 14.1 percent in the three days' sales revenue.
Despite the chilly weather, Beijing remained a magnet for domestic and foreign tourists. The city received 1.53 million visitors during the holiday, up 19.2 percent year on year, according to tourist authorities.
Beijing and Shanghai on Tuesday started the 72-hour visa-free stay policy, a move to encourage transit foreign visitors to travel and shop in the two cities.
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