Chinese consumers will not be able to enjoy hairy crabs from Germany as a group-buying website which had planned to sell them canceled orders on Tuesday due to a lack of knowledge about import procedures.
Juhuasuan, a subsidiary of popular e-commerce platform Taobao, had received about 35,000 pre-orders of more than 300,000 German mitten crabs worth over 9 million yuan (1.46 million U.S. dollars) in its one-week presale since Aug. 18, according to a company statement.
"Because we did not take into consideration import procedures of our first import of German crabs, we cannot deliver the crabs to consumers as planned," its president Zhang Jianfeng said in the statement on the twitter-like service Sina Weibo.
As a living body, the import of crabs needs to go through a series of inspection and quarantine procedures, he said.
The crabs were expected to arrive in China ahead of the Mid-autumn Festival, on Sept. 19. Mitten crabs are regarded as a delicacy in China and are usually in season from September to November.
"We have had to cancel the delivery," said Zhang, who apologized to consumers in the statement.
Zhang promised to refund customers and pay 30 percent of the order amount (about 3 million yuan in total) as compensation before Friday.
Juhuasuan will continue to buy German crabs after an application from Germany's Agriculture Ministry is approved by Chinese authorities, Zhang said.
Believed to have originated in China, mitten crabs reportedly made their way to German rivers on merchant ships about a century ago, where they have multiplied quickly and are considered a menace to the local ecosystem.