Source: CGTN Published: 2020-08-25
Tuesday marks Chinese Valentine's Day, also known as the Qixi Festival. For many businesses in China, it's totally different compared to Valentine's Day on February 14, when the country was grappling with the COVID-19 outbreak.
Han Hua, a fellow at the Chongyang Research Institute, considers heating-up consumption in Qixi proof of the rapid recovery in China's retail sector.
"The economic numbers, especially China's domestic consumption, are very encouraging. And the Qixi festival is another proof of this. We also saw domestic consumption-related stocks and funds enjoying rapid growth," Han said when speaking with CGTN's Global Business.
Many domestic companies have released their reports on trends of this year's Qixi and forecast it will have a more heated atmosphere than that of last year.
Searches for the word Qixi has been increasing this month, according to Baidu Index. Data from Meituan also shows the same trend in searches.
Based on data from Quark, a search app of e-commerce giant Alibaba, the searches about Qixi on the app have grown by 12 times and the most searched words about Qixi include gifts, ancient poems, short sentences, dates and customs.
On giving gifts to a loved one, data from JD.com indicate that related search jumped 280 percent in the week ahead of Qixi. Sales in categories such as cosmetics and jewelry have increased around 20 to 30 percent. And as of 2 p.m. Tuesday, China's box office had reached 330 million yuan, the highest level since cinemas reopened.
"My take watching the numbers from JD.com or Alibaba is that as long as the pandemic is under control in China, we can have a real comeback in the consumption area, to make up for the economic loss incurred in the upper half of the year," Han said.
Han believes that the domestic consumption market will continue to recover in the last quarter of the year and will become a bright spot in global markets, as the effect of the pandemic gradually eases.
Retail brands, including from home and abroad, will capitalize on this trend and step up the competition to get their piece of the market share.
"The Qixi Festival is a rather traditional Chinese festival, which we used to call China's Valentine's, trying to boost consumption to echo real Valentine's in the past. This year, big names [in the retail sector] are coincidentally choosing Qixi as their debut of online and offline events, which in my opinion shows their confidence towards fully recover of China market and their adaptability in this challenging period of time," Han explained.
Han Hua is a research fellow at Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.
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