Chinese Premier Li Keqiang selects snacks at a store in Haikou, Hainan province on April 11, 2014.—Zuma Press


Thanks to one Chinese leader’s sweet tooth, one snack maker is feeling pretty happy.
Over the past month, the Hainan-based Wenchang Chunguang Foodstuff Co. has sold about two million boxes of snacks, each respectively comprised of a box of “coconut chips” and a box of “coconut milk rolls.” The reason? Chinese premier Li Keqiang recently made a similar purchase at a convenience store during a visit in Haikou, capital city of southern Hainan province.
“The demand has been incredibly intense. At the beginning, no matter how fast we produced them, we still couldn’t meet the consumer demand,” Hainan-based sales manager Wu Sisi told China Real Time. 
For those of you who might not be familiar with the contents of the “premier set,” the so-called “coconut milk rolls” are comprised of rolled wafers stuffed with coconut cream, while the “coconut chips” are basically flakes of dried coconut. The Chungang products are made from local Hainan-grown coconuts, and have long been seen as a popular souvenir for tourists.
For Mr. Li, the humble purchase (total cost: 19 yuan, or $3) might have been motivated by the desire to seem more in touch with the lives of ordinary Chinese, as gesture that echoes a visit by Xi Jinping to a humble bun shop in Beijing last year, where the Chinese president spent just 21 yuan on a meal of stuffed pork buns, stir-fried liver and greens.
Either way, the manufacturer is celebrating. Total sales of the so-called “premier snack package” have added up to about 19 million yuan ($3 million) in revenue between April 11 and May 11. That’s nearly as much as the company sold of the product in all of 2013.
By April 14, three days after Mr. Li purchased the snacks, orders for the “coconut chips” reached as many as 120,000 boxes a day, with dealers and supermarkets across the country stocking up.
The company has since added two more production lines to triple their manufacturing capacity, and demand nationally is continuing to increase, Mr. Wu says.
The sales manager says the company is confident that Mr. Li will continue to give their business a bump, adding that he expects a “second rush of purchases” later this fall when Hainan’s peak tourism season kicks off.
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