Header image
Taiwan's 'betel nut beauties' drum up business,
 
 
 
 
  Home
user id
password

 
Competition can get particularly fierce, especially in summer, when harvests mean there's more to sell. But selling is about more than just looks.

"If a new girl with a beautiful face shows up but she's stupid, there isn't much competition," says one seller who left the industry and keeps her past a secret. "But there are a fixed number of drivers coming by. And if she's got good sales skills, she can steal away 50% of the business."

The exact origin of betel nut beauties is a matter of some debate. A recurrent story has it that somewhere around Nantau in central Taiwan in the early 1990s, two good-looking young sisters started selling the nuts on the roadside, wearing sleeveless outfits. That led to far better sales than their older, more homely competitors, and spurred copycats.

n 1997, artist Wu traveled to the area looking for the sisters. "But wherever I went and asked, everyone there claimed they were the original beauties," she says.

As the industry has become more successful -- by some estimates earning hundreds of millions of dollars annually and employing 2.5 million people -- it has drawn more critics and calls for regulation.
 
Click on photo to go next
 
 

Travel Education Society & Culture Home & Family
Art Automotive Business Computer
Real Estate Government Entertainment Law
Finance Sport & Outdoor Health Lift Style
Other