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Man registered 'Mo Yan' liquor years ago, sells it for 10m yuan

By Xu Chi (Shanghai Daily)

10:40, October 30, 2012

A LIQUOR brand with the name of Chinese writer Mo Yan - winner of the Nobel Literature Prize this year - has been sold for 10 million yuan (US$1.6 million), according to an engineer in Beijing who registered it on a whim with only 1,000 yuan six years ago.

It is another phenomenon of "Mo-mania" that has swept the country.

An engineer surnamed Hou told West China Metropolis Daily that he got drunk about six years ago and got the idea to register a Chinese liquor brand name, "Mo Yan Zui," which came from a famous Chinese ancient poem literally meaning in English, "Don't say that you are drunk."

This brand name can also be translated as "drunken Mo Yan." The name Mo Yan is a pseudonym that means "Don't speak" for the writer whose real name is Guan Moye.

But before Mo won the Nobel, Hou said the name had nothing to do with the writer since he was not so famous. Hou said no one paid any attention to the brand or tried to purchase it at the time.

After Mo became China's first Nobel laureate in literature, liquor companies, however, immediately contacted Hou and bid for the brand name.

One offered 6 million yuan for the brand but Hou refused, the newspaper said.

Hou told the newspaper that he finally sold the brand to a liquor company that offered him 10 million yuan after tax. But he refused to disclose the name of the company.

"Thanks to Mo, I can now sell the brand for 10 million yuan. After I got the money, I plan to spend some of it on charitable works," Hou told the newspaper.

Hou said some of his friends worked with him to develop a liquor product under the name of "Mo Yan Zui" about six years ago, but they ran out of money, according to the newspaper.

Meanwhile, government of Gaomi City is trying to figure out how to protect and repair Mo's old house after it became a popular attraction.

According to the newspaper, tourists grabbed all they could from the garden of Mo's old house, believing the "souvenirs" would bring good luck to them and their children.

The garden, which includes radishes and other plants, is now an empty space with not even a weed, the newspaper said.

"They are all customers coming far away from here. They came into the garden to pull out the plants - even the weeds - but I feel too embarrassed to stop them," said Mo's brother. "I fear that they would gossip behind our backs that we are getting prideful after Mo won the Nobel."

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