How technology has reshaped Chinese New Year
Note: The following is an edited translation of a commentary from the Chinese-language "Commentaries on International Affairs."
During Monday’s Spring Festival Gala, the now traditional four-hour extravaganza broadcast on the eve of the Chinese New Year and garnering the largest TV audience of any entertainment show in the world, a comedy routine called Platform highlighted the stories of four couples heading home for family reunions during the Spring Festival travel rush. It’s regarded as the largest human migration on the planet with over 40 million domestic journeys being made during a period of 40 days. Travelling at this time can be a daunting prospect.
High-speed railway services have greatly alleviated the pressure on China’s transportation system, especially during the annual Spring Festival travel rush, regarded as the largest human migration on earth. [Photo: VCG]
But with China now firmly in the age of high-speed railway travel, pressure on the country’s transportation system has been greatly alleviated, and people now have a better travel experience, with considerably swifter journey times.
Apart from being able to travel faster, it appears Chinese people are also travelling lighter. Spring Festival presents for family members and friends arrive home long before the homecoming trips, thanks to the fast development of e-commerce and the logistics industry.
Meanwhile, high-tech digital products are increasingly taking up a bigger share of the New Year gift market. According to statistics from China’s Ministry of Commerce, several thousand smart speakers were sold within a short period of time ahead of the Spring Festival season via an E-Shopping trading post in a village in southeast China’s Fujian Province. Other popular gifts include robot vacuum cleaners, food blenders, companion robots, drones, and intelligent heated underwear.
In fact, high-tech products have become popular generally with the Chinese people not only during the festive season, but also in their daily lives.
At the first China Import Expo held in November last year in Shanghai, where China placed orders with global suppliers worth $57.8 billion, high-tech products such as the world’s smallest cardiac pacemakers, automatic coffee machines, 3D printed masks, and smart sportswear able to measure your heart rate, were all very popular with Chinese consumers.
All these are a sign of China’s consumption upgrade. No surprise then that the rest of the world is vying for a share on this lucrative market.
Last week, a new round of economic and trade talks between China and the United States ended in a positive atmosphere. More talks are about to kick off, with the aim of finally concluding a trade agreement. It’s expected that greater openness will bring more high-tech products into the Chinese market, inevitably bringing even greater changes to the lives of ordinary Chinese people in the years to come.