Tokyo Zoo Panda Gives Birth, Sending Shares in Retailers Surging

  • Ueno Zoo panda Shin Shin gives birth to at least one cub
  • Shares in nearby Chinese eatery Totenko surge as much as 38%

Shin Shin eats bamboo at Tokyo's Ueno zoo on May 24, 2017.

Photographer: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images

Tokyo’s main zoo welcomed a baby panda for the first time in five years, sending shares of nearby restaurant operators surging on hopes of a boost to tourism in the central metropolitan area.

Officials at the Ueno Zoological Gardens were able to confirm that giant panda Shin Shin gave birth to at least one cub, according to a statement. National broadcaster NHK sent out an urgent breaking news bulletin to relay the news, sending shares in nearby restaurant operators Totenko Co. and Seiyoken KK surging in the afternoon session.

Totenko, which operates a Chinese eatery within walking distance of the zoo, jumped as much as 38 percent, while French restaurant Seiyoken advanced up to 11 percent. Shares in both companies surged in February when the zoo announced that the pandas were mating. The Nikkei cited one estimate that put the economic impact of the baby panda at 26.7 billion yen ($242 million).

Totenko Co. shares surge as much as 38 percent after news of the baby panda’s birth.

It’s not the first birth for mother Shin Shin and her partner Ri Ri -- the couple welcomed a baby in 2012, only for it to die less than a week later.

The two pandas arrived in Tokyo just 18 days before the March 2011 earthquake and nuclear disaster. Each year the zoo donates $950,000 to panda research in China in return for the animals, which are the main attraction and the first thing people see when they enter the main gate of the complex.

The zoo was one of the first outside China to host giant pandas. In 1972, a pair were given as a gift to mark the restoration of diplomatic ties between Japan and China. Visiting the pandas is hugely popular with Tokyo residents

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